The following is a statement taken from a Syrian man currently detained in Brook House.
In 2017, I was imprisoned in Syria for 2 weeks. When I came out, I went to the area where there wasn’t the presence of the regime. In 2018, the regime arrived in those areas. In April 2019, they were recruiting people old and young. You either had to join them and help them kill people or they kill you. This is when I left Syria. I travelled through Lebanon, Sudan, Libya and then Algeria and Morocco.
From Morocco, I tried to get into Melilla. There were people who were charging 3,500 euros to help cross the wall. I was trying to find a way to cross without paying this money. I got to Melilla and was there for 17 days. I talked to the Spanish officials there and said that I wanted to go to the UK because I have a lot of friends there. The best thing they said they could do for me was to send me to Madrid, so that’s what they did. Then I went from Melilla to Madrid, and then on the same day I went to Paris and then Belgium. I then went back to France to Dunkirk.
It cost 700 euros to cross the channel and there is no choice, they have weapons – these people that are supposedly helping you but they are just taking our money. And the French police don’t do anything to challenge them. They had guns and no one said anything. After we crossed we came to Dover. It was 6 hours long and we thought we were going to die.
I was taken to Luton, where I was for 3 months. While I was there, they said I could be placed in Croydon if I signed a piece of paper. But when I got there, Border guards took me to Brook House detention. They are saying they will put me on a Dublin flight to Spain, even though I have no refugee status in Spain.
We went through so much to get here, it was torture and punishment. The whole way the traffickers treated us like slaves. And here when people have tried to commit suicide, all they do is take them to hospital and then deport them any ways. A friend self harmed very badly and they just put him on a flight straight back to France.
I don’t know what we’re supposed to do. It’s like we are in Bashar Al Assad’s Prison here.
There are 17 Syrians in Brook House and 20 Yemenis. Many of the Syrians are from my village. Why are they punishing us here? What have we done to deserve this? All we want is to be treated with humanity and to be given our human rights that we deserve and that we could not get in our home countries.
Translation of letter above.
When I was in Syria, I was under many types of torture, humiliation and oppression and was imprisoned in 2017. I was unable to leave Syria until 2019. I left from Syria to Lebanon, and from Lebanon I went to Sudan then to Libya, then to Algeria and then to Morocco. After that, I went to Spain. When I entered Spain, I was exposed to a gang of criminals who wanted a fee as entry into Spain and they said I would need to pay 3500 euro, but I didn’t have this money and so I was subjected to their attempts to kill me. Then I went to the Spanish police and told them what had happened with me but no one helped me. And I told them about my journey to get to Britain, and they told me that they need to take my fingerprints, and they told me that they were taking it to record a crime. They then took me from Melilla to [mainland] Spain, where I met the same criminals [who were trying to kill me] and so I went to France then to Belgium then after that I returned to France and I entered the UK.
When I entered Britain I came via water, it was a death trip, I didn’t expect to reach the UK. I crossed an entire channel where ships sailed and saw death every second of the journey on the dinghy. Praise God I reached Britain well and safe and I found peace and stability and the kind of life I dreamt of for the last ten years in Syria. Then 3 months after arriving in Britain, they brought me to this detention centre, and they told me that they will basically send me back to Spain because they took my fingerprints in Spain as a refugee. I told them that when I came to Spain that the fingerprints they took were not to do with being a refugee but taken for a criminal report and I told them that my path to Britain was so that I connect with my family and friends and the people who I love but the British authorities are insisting on my re-entry to Spain even with the knowledge that I previously faced attempted murder in Spain at the hands of the criminals. I endured various types of abuses in Syria and during my trip that took a year and a half. It is hard explaining all that I have gone through on some lines on a paper because the pain within oneself is much harder to explain.
This is a story of a Syrian man, and I ask the reader of this who is wanting to spread my story to do so without my name because I am wanted in Syria and I don’t want them to kill my family in Syria, knowing that for me there is nothing for me except my mother and my siblings, and my father who was arrested 5 days ago [in Syria].
Thank you everyone.