Muslim H. started his life in the European Union in 2012, as more and more refugees do, by entering through Hungary. Given the conditions for asylum seekers in Hungary, he tried to leave the country several times, but was always sent back in the framework of the Dublin regulation. Earlier this year, he was imprisoned in Germany for entering the country “illegally” - in reality, no migrants are illegal, as everyone has a right to seek asylum. The Dublin regulation forces migrants to apply in the country where they first enter the EU and not where they want to go.
There are only police reports about the day of his death: He had demolished the window of his cell and was hurting himself. Against his resistance, eight prison guards overpowered him. His death occured, according to reports due to a heart attack, though there were no physical problems known previously. Legal proceedings with allegations of assault with fatal consequences against the guards are ongoing.
MigSzol deeply laments Muslim’s death and our thoughts go out to those who knew him.
While we may never discover the truth of the events or his motivations or the exact proceedings of the day, it is clear that Muslim H. was desperate to avoid being deported to Hungary. Whatever happened to him previously in Hungary cannot justify his attempt to hijack the airplane and taking a stewardess as a hostage - however it is clear from what happened that he should have been taken much better care of. Better care does not mean being imprisoned and tackled down by eight guards - which is a clear sign of brutal force used against him. MigSzol is very curious to know why eight guards were needed to calm him down - these many people at the same time cannot even get access to a human body).
In several cases, refugees in Germany have tried to stop a deportation back to Hungary by using their rights in court. After initially complying with the requests in some individual cases, courts started denying these requests after the changes made to the Hungarian asylum system in 2013.
However, MigSzol believes that these changes are not enough to improve the conditions for asylum seekers. Detention is inhuman and dangerous, especially for traumatized, psychologically distressed or vulnerable refugees. With the new Helsinki report we posted last week, there is evidence for future court cases - and for the abolishment of detention in Hungary!
We thus take this as a reminder to advocate for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in Hungary. In memory of Muslim H. and for the rights of all current and future asylum seekers in Hungary and Europe, political consequences should be drawn:
Stop detention – for better living conditions for refugees and asylum seekers in Hungary!
Freedom of movement and freedom to stay – for a European Asylum Policy that does not send people from country to country while they would need treatment and help now!
For a humane asylum policy which does not allow the death of asylum seekers – whether in prisons or in the Mediterranean Sea!