Instead of a family visit – prison

english translation

After almost two years and a half I decided to visit my family. I have a valid refugee status in Slovenia, my family has it in Germany. So we have to live apart and I admit, I miss them a lot all the time.

I decided to go with my own car and was looking forward to it. Before I left I had checked the car to be ok, repaired few minor things so the journey would be safe and smooth. So I left for Germany. Now, looking back I am sorry I left at all. Things that have happened effected my life so negatively. I was treated like a criminal and the feeling of humiliation is still with me.
During my visit to Germany I was stopped by the police. They demanded to see my documents, which I handed to them. Then they ordered me to follow them to the police station for further screening procedures. I have a refugee passport, issued in Slovenia. It was raining and I was completely wet, when they pushed me into the car and took me to the police station. There their behavior changed. They told me I have committed a criminal act, since I was in Germany with no valid visa. I explained to them that this can not be true – I have a valid refugee status in Slovenia with permanent residency, my passport enables me to travel inside Schengen without a visa. They did not listen to me but claimed that Slovenia is not part of Schengen and that I need a visa. While sitting there I asked them a few times for a glass of water, which they denied me every time saying I was not in a hotel. I asked them if I can contact the Slovenian embassy but they did not allow me to do that. They also declined my request to have an interpreter for Arabic. They tested me for drugs. The test was negative. Then they forced me to sign some papers. I have no idea what I signed because they explained nothing. Afterwards they took me to an interrogation room but I declined to answer any of their questions until there would be an interpreter present. An inspector told me they would keep me in a detention until the following day and then they would transfer me to the department for foreigners and deport me. He acted as if I was the worst criminal. He called some other policemen who made a very humiliating body search and made me strip to my underwear, and inspected even my private parts, took from me all human dignity. While doing it they verbally insulted me. After the inspection they locked me up in a cell, without my clothes, only in my underwear. I was cold and I could not sleep not even for a minute. I knocked on the doors and asked the warden if I can smoke a cigarette, if he can bring me a glass of water, if he can tell me what time it is. He ignored me and for me the night lasted longer then years.

The next day they came, put me in handcuffs like they do the worst criminals, pushing me ahead of them like an animal. No. They probably treat animals better than they treated me. They took me to a waiting room where there were many other foreigners. When they finally called me into the office, I did not understand a word because they spoke in German. I again requested an interpreter, so they told me to wait. After a while a police chief came to me and explained in English that I did nothing wrong and that I have the right to come to Germany with my passport, staying up to three months each time. He told the policemen to take off the handcuffs and give me back my things. I was free. Before I left the police office I asked them if they can give me the papers they told me to sign but they said no and took me outside. I had no idea where I was. My phone was turned off, the battery empty. I asked the policeman if he could take me back to where they arrested me the previous day so I could better orientate myself and find my way home. Of course, he did not. In cold wind I walked around the city for several hours, asking people for directions before I managed to find the house where my family lives. I stayed there for the next 12 days, no longer daring to go outside. I talked to no one, my body was feverish and in pain.

I returned to Slovenia full of frustrations and full of questions about human dignity, which was so brutally taken from me in Germany. I went to the Ministry of the Interior where they granted me my refugee status and I told them the status included also the promise of protection. What right does German police have to arrest me, lock me in a cell and insult me with no reason apart from me being a foreigner? I also visited a psychiatrist because ever since I can not sleep, I sometimes can not get up from my bed, I cry a lot and get lost in dark thoughts. You always claim that it is our countries that are the third world where no laws apply.

But this has not happened to me here in Europe only once. Just this time it really shattered me.

xx, Syria