The story of Abdul, Afghanistan, gathered in the jungle of Calais, August 2 2009

Link to a photo-reportage on “Life in the jungle and the port of Calais”:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/saraprestianni/sets/72157621821593471/show/

Abdul’s story is a macabre example of the tragic effects of European immigration policies of closure of borders, deportations often illegal, deportation, asylum that cause forced wandering which extends more for months or years and which denies any kind of protection for migrants and refugees.

Abdul, 32 years, Afghan Récit collected on 2 August 2009 in the jungle Pashto Calais

“I left for Afghanistan in December 2007 because I was threatened by the Taliban since I worked as an interpreter for an Italian NGO.

I went to Iran.

I had to walk two days and nights to reach the border with Turkey, paying 1000 euro. Once in the Kurdish area of Iran we crossed the border to pies in the night to reach the city of Van, in the southern region of Turkey.

At Van, in exchange for money, they led us in a desert area where hundreds of people waiting for a passage to continue the road to Istanbul.

After many hours came a bus that had up until thirty, we were several hundred people. The others stayed in the desert.

Once in Istanbul I stayed some days locked in a house waiting for passage to Greece. With 12 other people, we have crossed the sea, on board an inflatable boat. He was a young deported from England to Afghanistan, which organized the trip, he already knew the road! We arrived on the island of Lesvos, Greece.

Our boat was intercepted by Greek coast guards who led us in the detention camp Mitilini. Life in the camp was very tough, we slept in cell 80, while the camp was very dirty, the sheets appeared to have been changed for months. After 16 days of confinement the police gave me a paper in Greek, no interpreter, who asked me to leave Greece in a month. Camp Mitilini police took the fingerprints (ndr: a conviction would mean to seek asylum in this country, according to the Dublin Regulation).

When I arrived in Athens, I had more money, I slept in the parks. So I decided to go to Patras to try the passage to Italy. I am running behind the truck to hide underneath me and m’embarquer in a power boat. One night the commando (the port police) found me in a truck. They made me get off and they beat me very violently. They then led me to the detention camp near the town of Komotini, the detention center Venna, after one day of travel by bus to Athens.

In Venna camp, we were locked in cells 30. We could leave our cell, where there was neither air nor light, one hour every two-three jours.Il there were only two phones outside the cells. The police insulted us all the time, they called us “malaga” (strongly negative meaning in Greek). When I arrived in the camp told the police that I would have been locked up for three months. But at the end of three months in the camp they did not released me without any justification. The Greek police took me out after 6 months of confinement. With 15 other people (one Pakistani, three Afghans and 12 Arabs), the police have transferred to a military encampment to Alexandropulis. There were held several hundred other people, locked in one room.

We stayed in the camp a few hours. Around midnight the military called me with 50 other people and we drove up in an armored military truck. They led us, after 1:20 on the road, next to the river Evros. The Greek border police made us go on group of 20 small boats were pushed on the Turkish side of the border (ndr: the practice of illegal deportation from Greece to Turkey is a practice increasingly used by the Greek Government for “empty” the country of migrants. more detailed info on the subject in the Report of the borders of Migreurop to be released in September).

We started walking in the forest, but we do not know where to go, we were afraid we were cold. After a few hours of walking, we saw a house. We have therefore asked for help, something to eat. The owner of the house told us he could not help us after having called the police or he would have problems. He therefore called on the Turkish army came after a few hours. They led us to the detention camp Edirne. After 10 days, police have threatened to expel us in Afghanistan and that we should pay our ticket deportation because otherwise they would have deported via land leaving us at the border with Iran. The Turkish police are well aware that in the border region there are many Iranian kidnapping of migrants, with threats in exchange for money from the family. Sometimes the inhabitants of the region they cut your fingers or the nose of migrants because the money did not arrive. I therefore send my family the $ 500 that I had to give the Turkish police to pay for my flight deportation to Afghanistan. I was expelled with a flight line, there were 20-30 in Afghan deportees twenty Turks who went to Afghanistan to conduct business. Once in Afghanistan, I stayed in Kabul, I did not want to return to my homeland, it would be too dangerous.

After some weeks, I took the trip to Europe.

I went back across the border between Afghanistan and Iran, which separates Iran from Turkey. In Istanbul, I crossed the border with Bulgaria. It was night, I traveled to pies, I had a lot of fear because the Bulgarian border guards monitor the crossing with dogs.

I know if you find the dogs, we must stop, do not be afraid, if you run, they attack.

From Bulgaria, I returned to Greece and went directly to Patras. The situation in the camp was changed, the passage under a lorry in Italy increasingly hard, however, much higher barbed wire around the port. And I had no money for the trip. So I decided to take the land route.

We were three, we bought a map and we had crossed the border between Greece and Macedonia, as well as with Serbia, walking along the train tracks at night.

Once in Belgrade we were exhausted.

We therefore decided to ask in a park.

In a very short time the police arrived, they have checked the papers and led us in a prison in Belgrade. It was a prison where two Serbs were locked in a sector in a fruit salad and 40 Afghans. After 40 days of detention, I was able to escape. I left in the direction of Hungary by crossing the border to pies in the night. Once past the border, I took a train to Budapest, then a train to Ciprun at the border with Austria. I crossed the border on foot, to Innsbruck. The police arrested me on the train. They locked me in a camp for 26 days. In the camp I was very ill, I suffered from insomnia, so I asked to see a psychologist. Taking in my mental state, the psychologist asked the authorities who run the camp to release me.

So I was released and then I could continue my trip to Italy and then to Calais.

I arrived yesterday in Calais, I try to go to England knowing that I risk being sent back to Greece, where are my impressions … …

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