Mazim, 29, from Iraq living in Hungary

“My mind is blocked here inside.”

Mazim, 29, fled from Iraq for political reasons. Neither the Hungarian authorities nor the Iraqi embassy can identify him because he has no legal documents. He was detained for nine and a half months.

In search of freedom
I came three years ago, in 2011. For me it is really bad in Iraq, and not just because I am Kurd, but I do not want to live under dictator. I came from Turkey, I took a train in Istanbul and I was travelling until Serbia. I arrived in Hungary by train. The rail cargo company found me and called the police in Budapest. I was begging for him not to call them, but he did. I came without documents.

Struggling for legality
I asked for asylum, but they brought me to a detention centre next to the airport. I was there for a month, then in another detention centre for four months. Finally my case was closed after 11 months what I spent in an opened camp [reception centre] cooperating with the Immigration Office. They brought me back in detention at the end of February. Now I have totally nine and a half months here.

I was working in the town where the camp was, and also in another town nearby, and it was very good for me. The salary was not so high, 350 Euros a months, but I was happy with it. Mostly at night times I went back to the camp to take rest. It was tiresome, but I got the feeling that I belong to somewhere.

Life in detention
In the morning I wake up, I go outside to walk around, after that I come back, maybe I take a shower and I play some ping-pong, after that social workers come and sing for us, or teach Hungarian, we have TV, internet, like this.

The personal conversations and common activities are colouring my day. A little light in a prison. The painting course was awesome, I really have to say thank for it. I also love playing music with social workers.

Night-times are difficult. Because I think, think and think. Why they put me in the jail? I’m not a criminal. It’s difficult for me. Why, why? I don’t have problem with this country. This country has a very good law, why did they put me in the jail?

Stuck in the system
The prison shocked me the most, it’s very bad! Because I’m not a criminal and they put me in the prison. I have only a small problem: I came to Hungary and I don’t have documents.

When I asked for asylum they told me ‘OK’ but finally they gave me negative. I was here for 5 months.  After that I got free, they caught me again and put me back here in prison, I become crazy. It’s difficult for me, you know.

First of all, I have to manage some legality for myself, so I can start working. I want to get married, I want to study, normal life, you know. No problem what, but I want to study, Hungarian or to be a teacher, like this. I want to help everybody. I don’t know. My mind is blocked here inside.

Two years in Hungary
Still undocumented and unreturnable for administrative reasons