Czech media outlet publishes interview with detained migrant
Online news server Aktuálně.cz published an interview on 18 August with a Pakistani citizen who spent half a year en route to Germany only to be intercepted by the Aliens Police in the Czech Republic and detained in the Bělá-Jezová camp there. "I don't understand why the Czech Republic is holding us here. I do not want to remain here. I have never committed a crime. During my six months fleeing Pakistan I traveled through many countries, but only in the Czech Republic was I imprisoned. After I am released I want to go to Germany... I am not seeking asylum in the Czech Republic. Moreover, I am afraid that I will not be treated well in this prison," the migrant says in the interview.
Media attention focused on the camp at the end of July when detainees there protested their treatment. Most Czech media outlets reported on the protest as a massive attempt to break out of the camp.
Experts, of course, have warned that the practices of the Czech Republic with respect to detaining foreign nationals are illegal in most cases and therefore substandard. "The standpoints of international organizations and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union agree that detention should be used only in cases of the greatest necessity after careful individual assessment and for the shortest time needed," Zuzana Pavelková, an expert on migration, wrote to news server Romea.cz.
"In the Czech Republic, instead of following those standards, detained foreign nationals are categorized as 'flight risks', a concept that is not defined in the law, and then sent to Bělá-Jezová, often all but automatically. The people treated this way include families with children, pregnant women, and unaccompanied minors," Pavelková said.
The Ústí nad Labem Regional Court recently confirmed that this treatment is illegal. "I am not doing anything in Bělá, there is no opportunity to do anything here," the Pakistani migrant said when asked by Aktuálně.cz what his life in the camp is like.
"I am in prison here. It is very difficult, because I am constantly thinking about what I have experienced and I have no opportunity to distract myself from those thoughts. There are only a few staff here and there are so many people in the cells that the facility is absolutely overcrowded," he said.
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