Migrant Tales insight: We got an email from a reader who was worried about the fate of her partner, who is a Russian-speaking Estonian with Finnish citizenship. He has been detained since 11.10.2018 but still has not been charged with any crime. The woman doesn’t know what will happen and her partner’s lawyer has made it clear that she has still not been made aware of the nature of the case. How long can the Finnish police hold someone without any charges?
We aim to follow this story and will report on it as soon as we get any news on the fate of the man.
Some police cells in Finland may look like this one from in Mikkeli. The detained person is in Helsinki. Source: Migrant Tales.
“That’s it, I’m taking time out of your recreation time for that.
Go ahead and do it, because eventually I’m gonna be out of here and you’re still going to be losing your entire life to this place.
The Roma girl next to me in the elevator begins to belly laugh, in spite of the stomach ache which was bothering her earlier, and her wide skirts tremble with each successive giggle. The guard shuts up and glowers all the way up to the rec yard on the roof.
Even though we aren’t permitted to talk to each other, human nature has a way of helping us to communicate even as we talk past one another furtively for fear of drawing the attention of the sadistic guards.
‘Why are you here?’ A skinny Estonian guy rasps at me, as he chews relentlessly on the toothpick permanently lodged between his teeth.
‘A mistake,’ I whisper back, too loudly, and one of the guards hears me.
‘Yeah, a mistake, that’s what you all say. Every time it’s a mistake.’
I try not to let comments like this bother me, but the truth is, the rampant generalization and de-personalization hurt me.
‘I’ve never been in jail before,’ I say, ‘This is the first time, and it’s a mistake.’
He snorts and walks away.
Jail is a place where you’re constantly hungry for something: real food, air, human contact, information, color, privacy. I’ve been here now for 15 days with no charges and no release in sight. In the beginning the police interviewed me nearly every day, now they’ve told me it’s up to me to release myself, and they don’t come anymore. What do you do when you don’t know the answer to the question that could set you free?
The days continue to bleed into each other and I think often about how much I miss the things that used to drive me crazy. I’m desperate to return to school, even if it means that every Monday, I need to wake up at 6:30 am and go to äidinkieli [Finnish-langauge course]. I feel my life and my future slipping away from me, hours pass like days and everything drifts by in slow motion. Victories are minuscule. Today they moved me to a room with a toilet and running water. ‘Jihad and fuck the police’ was written in blood or shit on the walls. I try to clean it up and begin decorating with some drawings of my own.
I think about my girlfriend struggling home with our groceries up the hill, I think about her alone in the house at night. ‘I should be there!’ I think to myself. Then I begin to cry. I don’t know that her mom is really ill. She hasn’t told me because she doesn’t want me to worry about her now.
Yesterday, I lost my front tooth when it broke off as I was eating dinner. I wonder how much more of myself I will leave in this place before this is over. I feel bad now, but what I don’t know is how much worse I’ll feel in 4 days when the dentist still hasn’t arrived.
My girlfriend comes to visit once a week. She cries every time. This time she cries more when she sees my missing tooth. I missed her birthday. She lies and says the guards gave her the card I made for her, when they really sent her away and told her to wait until Tuesday. She tells me to be strong and to try to lose myself in the books she sent for me, that this will be in the past one day, that I will be back home and back in school soon. Those things will go back to normal.
I want to believe her, but I know things will never be the same.”