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by Association "Cimade"

Cimade: Testimony

Translated Monday 14 December 2009, by Henry Crapo and reviewed by Henry Crapo

Six immigrants living (or having lived) in France speak of their battle against deportation.

This testimony is attached to the Cimade report, published earlier by Humanité in English.

Mohamed Allouche, Palaiseau center.

His Wife and Son are Alone in France

Mohammed Allouche is Tunisian. He arrived in France in 2005 to join his French wife and their son. His presence near them is all the more necessary as his wife is deaf and dumb. She works despite her handicap but the presence of their eleven-year-old son Noufel’s father in France in essential to the family equilibrium. Mohammed Allouche has begun all the steps necessary to obtain regular immigration status, but time passes, and this has not yet been accorded. In August 2007 the prefecture of Nantes placed in question the reality of the couple’s marriage. Two letters to the couple were sent to the address of Mme Allouche’s parents rather than to the couple’s own address. The 15th of April 2009, Mohamed Allouche is arrested, places in investigative custody, then held in the center at Palaiseau. He is the object of a prefectorial order for transport to the frontier. Some parents of students, some teachers at the son’s school, and other citizens mobilize, demanding his liberation and regularization. On 7 May 2009, Mohamed Allouche is expelled from France to Tunisia. His wife and son remain alone in France.

Monsieur Sangaré, CRA du dépôt, Paris

Nineteen years of Work, and a Flight Suspended in extremis

Mister Sangaré arrived in France in 1990. For 19 years he worked in France, mainly in building maintenance companies. Aided by the Cimade. Mr. Sangaré tried on several occasions to regularize his situation by reason of the duration of his residence in France and his status as worker, to no avail. Mr Sangaré was fired by the company for which he had worked for six years. Some weeks later, the same company hired him back, with new paperwork. Mr. Sangaré begins work again. In February 2009 he is nevertheless arrested and held in the alien retention center in Paris, under orders to be taken to the frontier. Neither the judicial review begun nor the interventions made by volunteers on his behalf were able to dissuade the prefecture of police of Paris. After 19 years living in France, Mr. Sangaré will be expelled, without baggage, without money. It took the intervention of two deputies [1], Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Brard, and the visit of the latter to the retention center on the eve of his intended departure for Mali, in order to see the minister of immigration suspend the flight in extremis.

Modibo Sissoko, Palaiseau center

How am I Going to Get Back my Belongings in France?

From Bamako, to where he was expelled last week, Modibo Sissoko describes his expulsion, and a moment when he was on a hunger strike. At age 41, he had lived in France for 20 years. He has a short breath, and speaks slowly. Embarrassed. For a week now, Modibo Sissoko is back in Bamako, the Mali capital, after an absence of 20 years. "I have nothing here. I don’t know this place". He is worried. "How am I going to recuperate my belongings that remain behind in France? Having arrived in France in 1989, he worked for 20 years in building construction. Fired several times for lack of proper papers, he nevertheless obtained a promise of a contract from his most recent employer, this being an essential step in the process of regularization by employment. His rendezvous with the prefecture was set for 12 March. But, at the end of January, Modibo Sissiko was arrested near his home in Viry-Châtillon (91 [2]). When he refuses to board the aircraft, he is made subject to a ban on return to French territory for a period of three years, issued by the high tribunal in Lyon, in 2007. He was careful to show his convocation to the prefecture, but to no avail. Modibo was placed in the administrative detention center in Palaiseau, to await his probable expulsion. On 14 February, those detained in the center vote for a hunger strike. On Friday 20 February, Modibo is "removed", as the official vocabulary puts it, from the CRA in order to be "put at a distance from the territory". But the captain of the airplane has him removed from the plane. A second attempt at expulsion on Monday. Modibo Sissoko, escorted by 6 police officers, says he was violently "roughed up". He was tied up like an animal. Bent in two, his legs taped to the seat, his hands cuffed behind his back.

Anonyme, Center in Mesnil-Amelot [3]

Now with a Temporary Residence Card, but With One Less Eye

On 19 March, a man coming from the Cote d’Ivoire, afflicted with drepanocytose is placed in the retention center in Mesnil-Amelot. He has a severe form of this genetic illness. He finds himself, as do many sick foreigners, up against a refusal of the prefecture to let him benefit from the laws that were designed to protect him. The hospital doctors who are treating him get together and bring to the attention of the public officials the gravity of his illness, the necessity to accord him a residency permit in order that he may receive appropriate care, and above all cautioned not to submit him to additional stress, which would be an aggravating factor for his illness. It took six days until he was at last liberated from retention. During this period, he developed a frequently occurring and serious complication from the ilness, a retinopathy in the right eye. He was not provided with the necessary care while he was in the retention center. Now free, he has lost all vision in his right eye.

The family M., in Metz

The Calvary of a Tchechen Family

The family M, Russian, of Tchechen origin, arrived in France in the beginning of January 2008 with their four children. After all they have seen, and all they have suffered, the children are still traumatized. The youngest, at age two years and three months, does not yet speak. The entire family is persecuted in Tchechenie because of the participation of Mr. M in the resistance against Russia during the war that divided the country. ... Polish authorities placed them in a camp, but only five days after their arrival the mother of Mrs. M, who remained in Tchechenie, was visited by police officers who demanded to know where was the family M, but, faced with her silence, explained they knew the family was in Poland. The family M immediately fled Poland in a taxi, which took them directly to Metz. On their arrival, Mr. and Mrs. M went to the prefecture to request asylum. The prefecture placed them in Dublin convocation [4] and gave them a new rendezvous at the prefecture for 8 July 2008. On the morning of 10 June 2008 the police came to find the entire family at the hotel where they were staying. The upcoming convocation was for a date less than a month hence. The police announced their departure for Poland for the following morning at 9am. A request was sent in urgency to the CEDH on their arrival in the detention center. It was received too late to be handled before the departure of the family M. The following morning, 11 June 2008, the family M was on a flight to Poland.

M. T., center in Mesnil-Amelot

The Expulsion Went "Well"

M.T. is thirty years of age. Egyptian, he was expelled on 29 January 2009 to his country of origin. According to authorities at the Mesnil-Amelot center where M.T. passed some very difficult days prior to his expulsion, "the embarcation went well, and M.T. offered no resistance". We take a look back at his life during retention. On arrival, 5 January 2009, M.T. tells the Cimade of his health problems, specified in a certificate from his doctor, making particular reference to his symptoms of depression and suicidal tendencies. The next morning, and the following days, M.T. explains that he finds retention insupportable. The judicial official responsible asks for a medical examination. The doctor stationed in the center indicates that M.T.’s condition is compatible with detention. Meanwhile, his appeal to the administrative court of the expulsion order is rejected because it was faxed some hours after the deadline. So he will never have the opportunity to explain the basis for his case.
The 15th of January, M.T. attempts to commit suicide. He is evacuated to a hospital, then returned to the center that very evening. The next day, he expresses himself with violence, breaking equipment in one of the buildings of the center. Placed in custody, he is brought to the civil tribunal for destruction of state-owned property. The verdict, three months in prison, a suspended sentence. Returned to the center, aided by Cimade volunteers, he tries to involve the judge for sentencing, but without success.. M.T. is in worse and worse shape. The morning of Tuesday the 27th, he meets a psychiatrist employed by the center (CRA), who limits himself to changing his medication — which M.T. refuses to take.

Another violent incident: after having sharpened a razor blade, he threatens another detained person. At 4 pm, the gendarmes of the retention center place him in an isolation chamber. M.T. attaches a sheet to the bars of his cell in order to hang himself. On Thursday 29 January, M.T. is in another location, the one with the foam mattress, on which he passes his nights. Downfallen, resigned. He even ceases to ask to be freed. He just wants to return to the other zone, the retention zone. The head of the center announces that he will see about this later. The judicial procedures continue their course. When the intermediaries from Cimade prepare to visit M.T. in order to prepare with him a new request, they learn from the gendarmes who guarded his cell that M.T. had been expelled.

These testimonies are taken from the Cimade 2008 report. The individual titles were supplied by the editors.

[1members of the French Chamber of Deputies, the legislative assembly

[2A department neighboring Paris

[3retention center near the Charles de Gaulle airport

[4If your case is a case under the Dublin Convention, the responsibility lies with the country in which you first applied for asylum or were granted a residence permit/Schengen visa. You will not be interviewed by the Directorate of Immigration. An exception is made if you are an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker.

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