“Even a dog is not treated like that”: refusal of care and obstetrical violence against a prisoner at Mesnil-Amelot detention center (France)

14 August 2022 Off By passamontagna

Published on 13/08/2022 – translation from : abaslescra.noblogs

We publish here the testimony of a detainee in the Mesnil-Amelot detention centre. She was four months pregnant at the time of her arrest, and tried throughout her detention to resist the physical and psychological violence that the cops inflicted on her to make her comply.

She was deported to Romania at the beginning of July, and testifies to the medical ill-treatment and police violence she suffered during her detention, which led to a medical termination of her pregnancy in Romania. This is the umpteenth case of medical violence and denial of care in a detention centre.

The racism and sexism of the police have no limits:

Let’s stand in solidarity with the women prisoners,

Let us continue to fight against police and medical violence,

Let’s continue to fight for the destruction of all detention centers!

How did you get to the cra?

There was a robbery in my building, the police knocked on every door. No one opened except me. I let them check. I didn’t have the papers so they told me to come to the police station. They put me on a temporary hold (gav). They didn’t let me see a lawyer or a doctor. They first said I couldn’t stay in the jail because I was pregnant. They said you’re going to stay in another place. They made me sign papers, and I didn’t know what they were because they didn’t tell me I was entitled to help reading them. I didn’t know that there was the Cimade in the CRA (detention center). Then I went before the judge and they put me in the CRA.

Were you allowed to see a doctor when you arrived at the detention center because you were pregnant (she was four months pregnant at the time of her arrest)?

No, I didn’t see a doctor when I arrived. I had an infection, they didn’t allow me to see a doctor; then they gave me amoxiciline and I had a heart problem because of the medication and they took me to the hospital. The doctor didn’t take my blood pressure, he said it was nothing. Then they took me back to the CRA with nothing after I was handcuffed etc. It’s not normal what happens at the detention center, even a dog is not treated like that.

You started a hunger strike with another detainee at the beginning of June. Can you explain why you decided to go on strike?

I decided to go on strike because the food was out of date and they were putting pills in the food. Even the dogs don’t get that. The bread was four to five days old. I couldn’t eat anyway.

How did the PAF (border police, present in the french dentetion centers) react to the strike?

They told me “shut your mouth or I’ll put your face on the ground”, that they didn’t care and that the prefect didn’t care either. You go on strike or not, nobody cares about you.

Can you tell us what happened during the first expulsion attempt?

They took me back to the airport by force. They took me by force. I didn’t want to go upstairs, so they were violent. They threatened to beat me.

Had the prefecture given you a flight date?

They didn’t tell me, they took me directly.

How did your deportation to Romania go at the beginning of July?

At first they told me I could refuse. But when I arrived at the airport they made me get on the back seat, there was another man. They taped my feet with I don’t know what. And my hands were tied.

What were the consequences of your detention on your health?

I had to have an abortion because of the CRA medication. My stomach hurt too much. I went to the emergency room and they did an ultrasound. I had to have an abortion because I was in danger. The doctor said it’s not possible, France is like a dog. I’m going to go to the Romanian embassy to complain. The baby had already been dead for a week. I can’t go back to France straight away because I’m waiting for the embassy to reply, so my children are staying with my husband. You can’t kill people like that anymore, I’m not going to leave them quite.

So throughout your detention you didn’t have any gynaecological or obstetrical follow-up?

No, I didn’t have any follow-up during the whole detention.