France: From one prison to another

On December 16th, 2012 five people tried to get away from the Massy-Palaiseau detention centre. Four would make it but the fifth person, Ibrahim, was caught by the police that beat him up. He was taken into custody, held for two days and then brought before a judge, accused of having immobilized a cop to steal his security pass which allowed the others to get away. He was then remanded at Fleury-Mérogis until January 18th, 2013, the day of court judgment, when he was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay 1,200 euros to two cops who had accused him of violence. Escaping from a detention centre is not a crime; therefore, cops and judges were looking to press other charges against him.

Ibrahim is currently incarcerated in the Fleury-Mérogis prison. He did not appeal the sentence. When one is isolated, a foreigner who does not really speak French, and has no defense lawyer, it is almost impossible to understand that there are ten days to appeal. Justice crushes us much more for being poor and undocumented.

From one prison to another, from a detention camp for foreigners to a prison of the penal system, the path has been well cleared, and in both directions. Power will always take advantage of revolts, escape attempts, refusals of embarkation to lock up ever more recalcitrant persons. And vice versa, what awaits us in most cases upon release from prison while being undocumented is the detention centre and deportation after that.

When you’re locked up in a detention centre, when all legal remedies are exhausted and deportation is announced, your only alternative is escape and riot. That is why these stories are repeated: a few days before the escape from the Palaiseau camp, three people managed to flee from the detention centre of Vincennes, and we hope they’re still on the run. In Marseille, in March 2011, prisoners set fire to the prison for foreigners in Canet. Since then, two people are under judicial supervision awaiting trial after passing through the prison check point.

To Ibrahim, as much as to those from the case in Marseille, it is important to stand in solidarity with those who revolt for their freedom, whether they’re innocent or guilty. For as long as there remain prisons, papers and borders, freedom will only be a dream.


Don’t let Ibrahim face prison and justice in isolation; it is possible to write to him:
Ibrahim El Louar
écrou n°399815, Bâtiment D4 – MAH de Fleury-Mérogis
7 avenue des Peupliers, FR-91705 Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois

He can receive postal money orders. You can also help by contributing donations to Kaliméro, a solidarity fund with the accused of social war underway. The account number to make a transfer is 102780613700020471901 | Key 07.

If you’d like to send clothes or packages, or for any further contact, you may email

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