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Open letter to Mr. Frank Nürnberger, Director of ZAST and Deportation Prison Eisenhüttenstadt

To Mr. Frank Nürnberger
Director of ZAST and Deportation Prison Eisenhüttenstadt

Dear Mr. Nürnberger,
we are a network of politically engaged refugees, migrants and other solidary persons frequenting regularly the deportation prison.

For several years, the Bundespolizei in Eisenhüttenstadt could execute extrajudicial deportations arresting asylum seekers on their way to make their application, making it difficult or even preventing them to exercise their rights1.

To have an idea of what we are talking about and to understand how the people get to be detained in the Deportation Prison under your administration, it is enough to observe the practice of the Bundespolizei at Frankfurt Oder’s train station. When the train Warsaw-Berlin arrives, the police officers carry out systematically racial profiled controls of every passenger with foreign aspect2. In this way asylum seekers are imprisoned straight away after a short court hearing, without an independent legal support.

Another exceptional circumstance in Eisenhüttenstadt is the relationship between the Bundespolizei and the Court of Justice. The Division of Powers which differentiates Democracy from a Police State doesn’t seem to exist for the asylum seekers. This is not only made visible by the location of both institutions in the same building, but also by the behavior of the police officers during the Court Hearings. They are allowed to interrupt the defense lawyers and to step on the floor at any moment with the tolerance of the judge.

The public media already reported about the political use of justice made by some judges of Eisenhüttenstadt’s Court. In October 2013 charge was pressed for perversion of justice and racial hatred against one of them by the Republican Lawyers Association.3

Concerning medical care in Eisenhüttenstadt Deportation Infrastructure, some cases were documented in which the public medical officer visited seriously traumatized persons and produced medical reports leading to the conclusion of “asylum abuse” and medical advices as “suitable to expulsion”. Under our eyes, a Georgian asylum seeker was taken to the airport and expelled by the Bundespolizei directly from the psychiatric department of Eisenhüttenstadt public hospital against the advices of the responsible doctors, after 11 days of hunger strike.4

For all the reasons mentioned above, it’s clear that such an infrastructure as the deportation prison has no reason to exist in a democracy. Its existence brings people imprisoned without charges to harm themselves and even to attempt suicide. This is happening regularly when they have no way left to claim their basic rights.

Meanwhile we hold firmly that constant presence and independent observation are absolutely necessary in such a situation of systematic institutional abuse. During the last weeks, we have often experienced ungrounded restrictions in our access to people detained in the deportation centre created by the surveillance staff and officers of the Ausländerbehörde. In one case the responsible officer of the Ausländerbehörde did not allow a refugee to visit another imprisoned refugee with the obviously racist motivated argument of the different countries of origin. After the visitor started to complain, the officer used physical violence to kick him out of the area of the prison.

We urge Mr. Frank Nürnberger to remove these obstacles and to give us free access to the people whose lives get trapped in the Eisenhüttenstadt deportation prison.

We demand urgently:

  • Free access to the deportation prison
  • Unlimited speaking time with the inmates
  • Direct access to the list of the inmates
  • Unrestricted possibility to fax and copy documents inside the prison
  • The possibility to bring inside information material

The Network of refugees, migrants and other solidary persons from Berlin and Brandenburg.

Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants





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