Murder of a migrant in Calais

Translation of La Voix Du Nord article :

Murder of a migrant in Calais: arrested man released, twenty migrants demonstrate


Published 04/02/2014

Around 20 migrants of different nationalities tried to occupy the port of Calais this Tuesday afternoon, in response to the death of two fellow migrants in recent days, and to protest against their living conditions in Calais.

The news of the murder of one of the migrants on Sunday evening in the zone Marcel-Doret in Calais was too much. So this Tuesday morning, around 20 migrants of different nationalities – the majority of them Syrian and Egyptian – decided to occupy the port. Upon arrival at the footbridge of the ferry terminal, they were very quickly pushed back by the port security. The CRS and the police nationale came on the scene to block all access to the port for the migrants.

The 20 or so men were accompanied by several activists and association members (Calaisiens engagés, No Borders and several members of Secours Catholique were there). They stayed in front of the fences of the terminal for an hour and a half, surrounded by the CRS. Several of them showed their deep sadness and anger after the death, in recent days, of two migrants: one who was run over last Thursday night/Friday morning, and the other killed by a bullet in the industrial zone Marcel-Doret on Sunday evening. These two dramas occurred in the continually difficult context for the migrants in Calais. “We fled war to come here and our friends die on the roads. We sleep in tents, where the water invades us when it rains and no one come to see us to help” explained one of them.

Several of them complained of repeated police checks and body searches in their camps, and say that they have been verbally abused or hit by the CRS in these past weeks.

Questioned on this, the sous-préfet of Calais Alain Gérard said he was “very surprised” by these allegations. “To be clear, we have not received a single complaint on behalf of the migrants, either from associations or from other people. No fact of violence towards the migrants has been established and we need to treat these allegations with caution” he explained. Alain Gérard restated that the CRS (whose presence has been reinforced following the visit of minister Manuel Valls to Calais) “do their work and question people on the request of the prosecutor, but without violence and insults. If there had been the slightest derivation from this, we would have been informed”.

Towards midday, 2 police offices went to meet with the migrants to learn of their intention and convince them to leave. They decided a time until which the group could demonstrate, up to the sous-préfecture of Calais, or even to the town hall, in order to find someone to talk with to demonstrate their anger, but then this idea was abandoned. The action finished without incident around 12.30pm.

Homicide: the arrested man released

The enquiry started after the discovery of the body of a migrant on Sunday night/Monday morning in Calais. The autopsy, which was done this Tuesday, confirmed that the man was killed after receiving a bullet in the thorax. The murder weapon was probably a shotgun. The victim is said to be a migrant, about 30 years old, probably Iranian or Iraqi. A man presenting himself as one of his friends alerted the emergency services on Sunday night: he was placed in custody in the police station in Coquelles, to give evidence in the enquiry, before being placed beyond suspicion and being released this Tuesday afternoon. This Iranian, who is unknown to the police, was in fact not a witness to the crime, indicated the prosecutor of Boulogne-sur-Mer.

A legal enquiry for voluntary manslaughter will be opened this Wednesday.