Refugees Detained for Minor Offenses Run Risk of Rape in Netherlands

The situation in the Netherlands could not be more terrifying for refugees who run afoul of the country's strict traffic laws. Mohamed, who was too afraid to give his real name, told Abreu Report that he fled Syria after a neighbor threatened to tell the Islamic State that he had engaged in homosexual behavior.

Mohamed arrived in the Netherlands expecting a paradise, but his expectations soon turned into a nightmare. He suffered a brutal beating at the hands of a man in the refugee center that first processed him when he arrived in Gelderland, an eastern province near the German border.

"I casually told him I was gay and then he punched me in the nose, I was bleeding all over, I didn't know what to do," he told Abreu Report.

Mohamed cries telling his story. © Abreu Report
After suffering a broken nose, Mohamed didn't feel comfortable in the shelter and decided to go for a bike ride, but he alleges that the area is heavily policed and draconian measures are regularly implemented. It was 5pm and the sun was setting, and Mohamed decided to turn on the lights to his bicycle, both white.

Before he even crossed the first major boulevard, a group of police officers had already detained him because the rear light on a bicycle cannot be white, it has to be red. The police officers asked Mohamed where he was born, and if he had ID to prove who he was. Nursing a broken nose stuffed with cotton, Mohamed could not produce an ID; in his haste, he had forgotten it in the refugee shelter.

He was immediately placed in the back of a van and taken to a detention center. Someone had rummaged through his belongings at the shelter, and it was difficult to locate his ID. What should have been a brief detention that night turned into agonizing days, during which time he was repeatedly and horrifically raped by a fellow detainee.

Crying into a napkin as he retold the story, Mohamed said to Abreu Report he wishes he had been killed in Syria. "A beheading would have been preferable to what I have suffered in this cold, ruthless country," he concluded.