Sébastien Van Malleghem Wins Lucas Dolega Award for Photography in Belgian Prisons

This comes from the website Prison Photography, and was posted on there on Jan. 25th, 2015:

Sébastien van Malleghem has been awarded the 2015 Lucas Dolega Award forPrisons his four years (2011-2014) of reportage from within the Belgian prison system.
I’m a big fan of the work having previously interviewed Sébastien while the work was ongoing and applauded the time he spent three-days locked up in Belgium’s newest most high tech prison. That experience helped van Malleghem understand that there are some very thin but very significant thread that connect the cameras and lenses of security, with the cameras and lenses of photographers and journalists, with the cameras of news and entertainment.
In his formal statement to the Lucas Dolega Award, van Malleghem says:
These images reveal the toll taken by a societal model [the prison] which brings out tension and aggressiveness, and amplifies failure, excess and insanity, faith and passion, poverty.
These images expose how difficult it is to handle that which steps out of line. This, in a time when that line is more and more defined by the touched-up colors of standardization, of the web and of reality TV.
Always further from life, from our life, [prisoners] locked up in the idyllic, yet confined, space of our TV and computer screens.

Read the rest here.

Hunger-Thirst strike in Dutch deportation centers (NL)

People inside immigrant detention centers in The Netherlands (Rotterdam / Schiphol – Amsterdam) are on a hunger strike. Now several are also refusing to drink. We need to show support and make politicians act now!

From: Getting the Voice Out / Deportatieverzet:


Public indictment against the system of repression we call Fortress Europe

About 60 asylum seekers in detention center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, have been in hunger strike for four days now. 18 of them also stopped drinking since Wednesday 8th of May. They are protesting against the asylum policy that criminalizes refugees: they get thrown out on the streets without money or shelter and they get detained in prisons for up to 18 months. The refugees on hunger strike demand not to be treated as criminals anymore. They clearly statedthey want freedom and protection.

Wave of hunger strikes

Wednesday May 1st, twenty refugees in detention center Schiphol went on hunger strike. While the guards brutally broke down the strike in Schiphol, by putting the hunger strikers in isolation cells, about 80 refugees in detention center Rotterdam started a hunger strike on Monday 6th of May. One day later,fifty women in detention center Brugge (Belgium) also went on hunger strike.
A thirst strike is even more dangerous than a hunger strike: the latter can last for 40 days before people get in a critical situation, whereas a person who does not drink will be dead after one week.

Government arrogance

The Dutch government has shown an unbelievable arrogance in this matter.

At first, they did not respond to the demands of the refugees at all. One parliament member of the ruling party People’s Party of Freedom and Democracy (VVD) even went as far as to say the refugees “were taking the government hostage” by going on hunger strike. Then, as late as Thursday 9th May, they “provided” a worthless “offer”. In return for the end of the hunger strike, the government “offered” to shorten the usual 17 hours a day detainees are locked inside their cell with a few hours.

The hunger and thirst strikers of course rejected this ridiculous proposal and they will continue with their protest.

But things are getting very serious right now. As of Friday the third day without water begins for the refugees who have no other means of getting their voice out than to go on a hunger or thirst strike.

Refugees searching for a better life get thrown into a Kafkaesk bureaucracy of having to provide proof that doesn’t exist in order to get their permit to stay. Once rejected, undocumented refugees get thrown out on the streets and get denied basic human rights, such as food, shelter, work and health care. Racist police hunt them down and jail them. In detention, refugees are stripped from their dignity, their autonomy, their lives and their future. Once deported, no one ever hears from them again.

Right now, refugees in detention center Rotterdam are directly and unmistakeably demanding their rights and their freedom.
The government will have to respond very quickly and adequately, if they don’t want to be held responsible for dozens of deaths.

Call for solidarity

We are strongly calling for solidarity from our friends throughout Europe. Solidarity with the hunger and thirst strikers in special; and with refugees in general. The state is aimed at excluding everyone who is not directly exploitable by capital. Make it known how this insane migration policy of repression destroys the lives of hundreds of thousands of refugees.
Show your solidarity by spreading this message.

Print this letter and post it everywhere, preferably to walls that symbolize exclusion by Fortress Europe: parliament buildings, embassies, deportation offices, immigration offices, etc. Letter removed? Glue it again. Everywhere.


Belgium: Judge orders 6 months and 1 year cell for participants of No-Border Camp in Brussels 2010 based on "participating in the demonstration""

This Flemish article basically says that two participants of the No-Border Camp held in Brussels in 2010 (in an action protesting the detention centre in Steenokkerzeel and in remembrance of Ms Semira Adamu who had died in that camp) received a 1 year and a 6 month prison sentence for “being there.”

The judge tried to sentence them for obstructing the police, but there was really no credible evidence of this, because video footage did not show decidedly that the two British participants really held weapons (all that can be seen on footage is that one of them is holding a drum and a drumstick!).

It is also not clear on the footage used as evidence that the two sentenced had caused an injury to a police who fell of his/her horse, because the suspects were not seen in that footage.

The judge admitted that they were not seen on the video footage, but the judge found them guilty anyway because they were participating at this demonstration anyway…

The lawyers of the No-Border-Camp participants are considering an appeal.

From: De Wereld Morgen:

woensdag 25 april 2012
door Kevin Van den Panhuyzen

6 maanden en 1 jaar cel voor deelnemers No Border-kamp 2010

BRUSSEL – Twee deelnemers aan het No Border-kamp van 2010 in Brussel werden dinsdag tot 6 maanden en 1 jaar cel met uitstel veroordeeld voor ‘weerspannigheid tegen de politie’. Alhoewel ze vreedzaam deelnamen aan een betoging voor het gesloten asielcentrum 127bis in Steenokkerzeel, blijkt hun toenmalige aanwezigheid voldoende te zijn voor een veroordeling.

[photo] Betoging in het kader van het No Border-kamp in september 2010 in de buurt van het gesloten asielcentrum 127bis in Steenokkerzeel.

De feiten

In september 2010 vond in Brussel een No Border-kamp plaats. Activisten uit verschillende landen namen er deel aan allerlei acties tegen het Belgisch en Europees asielbeleid. Een eerste betoging voor het gesloten asielcentrum 127bis in Steenokkerzeel, om de praktijk van opsluiting aan te klagen en de dood van Semira Adamu te herdenken, liep uit de hand toen de politie te paard en in oproeruitrusting de betogers omcirkelde.

Elf betogers werden toen administratief aangehouden, onder wie twee Britse activisten die werden aangeklaagd voor weerspannigheid tegen de politie. Hun zaak werd dinsdag 24 april behandeld voor een Brusselse rechtbank.

De officiële argumentatie

De rechter oordeelde dat het geval van Darius (een van de twee veroordeelden) extra ernstig is, “omdat hij als universiteitsassistent aan een Britse universiteit het goede voorbeeld zou moeten geven en dus niet aanwezig zou mogen zijn op zulke evenementen”.

Omdat hij tijdens de betoging een drumstokje en een trommel vasthad, werd hij bovendien ook nog veroordeeld voor wapenbezit. “Op de videobeelden is inderdaad niet vast te stellen dat deze twee manifestanten gewelddadig waren of de politie met aarde bekogelden”, vertelde de rechter dinsdag op het proces, “maar ze waren in ieder geval wel aanwezig op die betoging.”

De twee activisten worden ook verantwoordelijk geacht voor de verwondingen van een agent die van zijn paard viel. “Op de videobeelden is nochtans te zien – en dat gaf de rechter ook toe – dat zij daar helemaal niet bij betrokken waren.”

Een gevaarlijk precedent

“Dit is gevaarlijk”, legt een sympathisante uit voor het justitiepaleis, “want zo is geen enkele verdediging meer mogelijk. Er is geen enkel bewijs van gewelddadig verzet. Enkel en alleen omdat zij deelnamen aan een betoging worden zij veroordeeld tot een celstraf. Zo is in de toekomst geen enkele betoging meer mogelijk.”

Mogelijk gaan de advocaten van de activisten in beroep tegen de uitspraak van de rechter, waarvoor nog 15 dagen tijd overblijft.

New URL for Getting the Voice Out (Belgium/Europe)

Getting the Voice Out collecte les témoignages des personnes détenues en centres fermés, afin de porter leurs récits à l’extérieur des murs et de rendre ainsi public ce que les autorités s’efforcent de cacher.

Getting the Voice Out gathers stories from people detained in detention centres, to get their voices heard in the outside world and highlight what the authorities try so hard to hide.

Getting the Voice Out verzamelt getuigenissen van mensen die vastgehouden worden in gesloten centra, zodat hun verhalen de buitenwereld kunnen bereiken en dat publiek wordt gemaakt wat de autoriteiten proberen te verbergen.

Please visit their website to read and learn about the prison camps in Belgium used for people without the “right” papers…

Voices from the detention centres: Getting the Voice out – New Weblog / Stemmen uit de gesloten centra

There is a new weblog, published in Belgium, written/translated in English, French and Flemish/Dutch, which publishes testimonies of those locked up in detention centres for immigrants (mainly in Western Europe):

Getting the Voice Out

Read more on their own website, or on De Wereld Morgen.be, about their intentions.

Belgium: Evasion du centre fermé 127bis – Escape from closed camp 127bis, hunger strike after abuses – demo

Hunger strike following bad treatment after detainees escape, in Brussels:

Via Brussels Indymedia:

20 February 2011 19:24 par Voixsansfrontières

Cet après-midi, une cinquantaine d’activistes ont manifesté devant le centre fermé 127 bis…

Les manifestants communiquaient avec les personnes enfermées qui racontaient que depuis une tentative d’évasion de deux personnes, les mauvais traitements se multipliaient.

De plus plusieurs personnes dans le centre sont en grève de la faim pour protester contre ces mauvais traitements.
LIRE : [12/02 // 15/02 // 16/02 ]

Au bout d’un moment, les détenus, révoltés par la situation ont mit le feu dans une chambre du centre. Les gardiens ont du les faire sortir dans la cour pour éteindre l’incendie….
Et pendant que les personnes attendaient dehors… une personne a réussi à s’évader !!!
[Photos] [Lire la suite]


Une première vidéo :
Article dans la presse capitaliste :
Une vidéo et un direct du centre ! :

La gare de Steenokkerzeel a été bloquée après l’action par la police, pour empécher les manoifestants de rejoindre leur ville…
Voici les informations à chaud… d’autres viendront par la suite !