They Need Our Help!
One of the official organizers of the Peace March of the asylum seekers in Poland, an ethnic Ingush, Janetta Magomed-Nadievna Baysurkaeva (aged 30) fears possible extradition from Poland as punishment for her involvement into organizing peaceful rallies of asylum-seekers in Warsaw in autumn 2009 as well as the disrupted attempt of some 200 asylum-seekers to participate in the World Freedom Day march in Strasbourg. They were prevented leaving the territory of Poland as they had neither valid documents nor train tickets.
Although some media outlets claim that the incident was over last night, the situation still remains tense. From the phone conversation with Janetta Baysurkaeva it is known that the majority of people were taken to the immigration camps. She states that the process of disembarking the train was not peaceful as some of the sources report. Janetta tells, “The police stormed the train when the night came. There were other passengers on the train from among Poles who supported us and fed the children. The train was stopped at Zgorzelec, the next to the last border city. There were about 170 asylum-seekers on the train, mostly women as well as sixty children aged from 3 months to 12 years. The police assaulting the train were in black masks. They dragged our men out regardless of whether they were holding the children in their hands. Women were trying to dress other children”.
Janetta also has two children, a girl of 6 and a boy of 3. She fears being sent to Russia as she is sure she will be doomed. Janetta escaped not only violence-torn Ingushetia a year ago but also her violent husband whom she fears.
When asked about the reasons which have driven the protest, Janetta explains, “It was not only because of the poor conditions which journalists report. The attempt to participate in the Peace march in Strasbourg was the last attempt to call for attention and for real help”.
Janetta claims that all started because of the wave of violence against asylum-seekers from the Caucasus that seized Poland since beginning of autumn this year. “It started with numerous beatings of our people by youngsters. Then they started to assault refugee stations. Janetta was a tenant of Radom refugee station located some 200 km from Warsaw.
The Police media confirms that on 7 October a large gang of young men attacked this refugee station smashing windows with rocks. The police caught nine people, including minors. They were all released without any inquiry. It was not a single accident. Finland is now facing a flow of asylum-seekers coming from Poland or via Poland asking for protection on the grounds of violent assaults and refusals of the police to initiate criminal investigations into them. With regard to the assault in Radom, asylum-seekers were not declared victims. They were all adopted as witnesses and the police finally refused to carry out investigation.
Janetta confirms that the people had no tickets. It was also an act of protest, in her words. “Each of the asylum-seekers gets 70 zloties per person. The payments have been delayed for long and people have no money to pay the tickets. We had to board the train and other passengers in Warsaw supported us. Without their agreement and demands the train would have never departured from Warsaw station”. As for opinions of some journalists and HR organizations that they travelled without any valid documents, Janetta agrees but points out, “People are just trapped in Poland. Our documents are taken away as soon as we enter Poland in Teraspol. Then we are put to these wretched refugee centers and the process of making decisions is too slow”. However, the desperate attempt of asylum-seekers didn’t happen out of the blue. They held several rallies in Warsaw and on December 11, 2009 they notified Germany, France, UK and the USA via their embassies that they were forced to bring their problems to the attention of Strasbourg.
Even yesterday, just a few hours before the storming of the train, I got some phone calls asking to notify Thomas Hammerberg about the situation on the Polish-German border.
Janetta is asking to call the chief of the police colonel Torbits 075 77 97 201 (code of Poland +48) and inquire about what they are going to do with her. She is also asking to inquire about whereabouts of another organizer Askhat Evloev who went off connection yesterday evening. Janetta’s children are with her now. She describes their situation as deep shock.