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Seven Rotterdam prison workers hurt in brawl are recovering well


Seven Rotterdam prison workers hurt in brawl are recovering well

Seven staff members of a detention center in Rotterdam were injured on Thursday in a brawl with about 50 foreigners awaiting deportation, the detention center reported on Sunday. The prison workers are doing well under the circumstances, director Miriam Mendonça told NOS.

“We checked every day to see how they are doing, and so far, they are doing well. They were given compulsory time off this weekend. Today, all seven of them will start again, and then at check-in, we will check whether they are ready, especially whether they are ready to open the cell again. It must feel good to them,” Mendonça said.

Things got out of hand during a drug check on Thursday. “We carry out standard drug checks. And during those cell inspections there is also a drug dog. When a dog handler entered the department with the drug dog, one of the foreigners started to resist,” Mendonça said. It is unclear whether the man had drugs on him. “We hadn’t gotten around to the inspection itself.”

Other detainees got involved, and things escalated into a massive brawl. “There are 64 people in a regular ward. The ward is open and, as a result, a larger group became involved,” Mendonça said. “People wanted to interfere and seek redress. The situation arose in a few seconds.”

The detention center only reported the incident several days after it happened to give the Judicial Institutions Agency (DJI) time to investigate what exactly happened. “We looked at camera images, spoke to witnesses, and the Koninklijke Marechaussee also recorded statements for reports. And the injured staff members also had to first be able to give a statement.”

The detention center detains foreigners who are about to be deported. They are detained to prevent them from evading deportation. According to Mendonça, it is a “difficult target group,” and incidents plague the department. “Immigration detention is not easy. Also, look at the central reception locations. Some of those people end up in immigration detention. And here we take away a large part of their freedom.”

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