MEETING AT THE ROYAL PALACE IN BRUSSELS
The Chechen refugee Arbi Zarmaev is still locked up 24 hours to 24 hours in a isolation cell of the prison of Bruges. Hence we had planned with a group of Chechens and the wife, parents, children, sister and brother of Aldri a meeting at the Royal Palace in Brussels.
When we came to the Royal Palace, there were dozens of policemen in three special combos that were waiting us as if it was a revolution. It were the same police units (including members of the secret police) which we met 14 days ago when we had a meeting for the buildings of the European Parliament.
They prohibited us immediately to unfold a banner and to take pictures. They stayed the whole time repeat that we “needed a permission for this event”. That is the best way to ban demonstrations. That is thus the way that any reports about Arbi Zarmaev are blocked by the Belgian authorities and Belgian Justice Minister Stefaan De Clerck, who made a deal with the Russian Government about the extradition of Arbi Zarmaev to Russia.
On 4/08/2011 the association Pax Christi announced that the European Council did not accept that Arbi Zarmaev was detained in a Russian or Chechen jail because there was a serious risk that he will be tortured and killed, as was the case with many Chechens. Justice Minister De Clerck and the Belgian State Council tried to minimize this risk and De Clerck even said with wide arm gestures, that the risk was nonexistent “because he had called the Russian embassy”. But how can you minimize this risk if you can not even prevent that people in Belgian prisons are victims of torture?
As already mentioned, Arbi Zarmaev’s wrists and ankles were day and night chained in a solitary cell of the prison of Hasselt, what caused some deep and painful wounds. He received no water for four days so he suffered from severe dehydration. In the half dark isolation cell of 2 x 3 meters from the prison of Bruges, he was every night and every 15 minutes awakened with much noise and bright light. In both prisons, he was treated with psychiatric drugs. As a result, his condition has so deteriorated that they want to shut up him in a closed ward of a mental institution if the justice minister and the Belgian State are obliged to agree to the European request to release him.
We contacted the European Committee against Torture and the UN Committee against Torture, but they did not reply while they know that the Belgian government was frequently condemned for torture in its jails, particularly in the prison of Bruges. The League for Human Rights ignores the case what is most remarkable. Maybe the association is satisfied with the regained government grants …
Arbi’s family is very scared. During 14 days she was no longer able to see or speak Arbi and she fears that Arbi who is physically and mentally exhausted, will not leave alive the prison of Bruges.
For 14 days, the Belgian authorities blocked all social contact of Arbi. He’s locked up 24 hours to 24 hours without the right to correspond, without telephone, without television, without a short walk and without contact with other prisoners.
Both Minister De Clerck as Hans Meurissen, director of the Directorate-General of the Belgian Prisons, is aware of this situation.