Ulrich Maximilien, 33, from Central African Republic living in France

“I cannot go back to my country because there is a risk for me to be put in jail or to be murdered.”

In 2009, Ulrich Maximilien took advantage of training in China to flee from the authoritarian regime of the General Bozizé. Once in France, he applied for asylum but his request was denied by the OFPRA[1] and so was his appeal by the CNDA[2]. Arrested and placed in an IDC in January 2013, he asked for a re-examination of his case but his request was once again denied. Facing ill-treatment in his country, the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) suspended his removal. Thus, he was released by the administration after 35 days. Since then, he is on house arrest, waiting for the definitive decision of the ECHR.

Fleeing from Central African Republic through China
I was a member of the army of Central African Republic since 2003 and in 2009 I received funding to do a military training in China. At the end of my training I left to France by plane with my passport and a short-term Schengen visa delivered by the French authorities. I stayed in France after my visa expired because I was afraid of going back to my home country.

I applied for asylum in 2010. This application was rejected by the OFPRA. I made an appeal to the CNDA but I never received the convocation for the CNDA because the person whose address I was using to receive mail did not tell me about the reception of this mail. I was only informed of the reject decision from the CNDA when I was arrested by the police services and placed in detention on January, 3rd 2013. From then, I kept seeking asylum.

European Court as a last resort
I cannot go back to my country because there is a risk for me to be put in jail or to be murdered. Indeed, before I left the Central African Republic, I was in the army. The military training I participated to in China represented for me an opportunity to flee because I had refused to follow the orders coming from my hierarchy. I was not the only one who refused the mission and the lieutenant executed one of my colleagues and threw his body in the water. They took me, bound hand and foot and threatened me with knives saying they were going to kill me. I had the chance to be set free because of the relationship I had with certain high personalities.

Since I left, I heard that my father and brothers fled the country. I also learned that my chief of section was murdered. Moreover, several of my colleagues from the army are missing. I have learned that I am on the list of wanted persons.

When I was in detention, the administration tried to expel me several times. First, they could not do it because my asylum application was preventing any removal. After the asylum application I did in detention was rejected, I was taken to a flight to my country but I refused to go onboard. Another one was organized in the following week. Nevertheless, the day before my flight the ECHR suspended my removal. I was then released from the detention centre and I am currently on house arrest.

In detention, I was feeling ill-at-ease because I was suffering of hypertension. I had to go see the nurse twice a day.

I prayed everyday when I woke up, took a shower, went out and talked a bit with people. I watched television. Sometimes it was cold and the electricity wasn’t working properly. We had to change room because the heat was not working anymore in mine. I slept because I was stressed.

My friends disappointed me a great deal.  They took all of my possessions while I was in detention. They thought I would be send back to my country. I am slowly trying to get everything back.

Wish of stability
Before I came to France, I thought that I could get my papers and live like everybody else: work, respect the law and build my home. I thought it would be easy but it is difficult.

My dream is to go live in England. To work there you need to speak English, so I would like to settle there and learn how to speak English. I have a military training so I could enter the foreign legion but I don’t think this is my destiny because I would like to create activities and carry projects.

I am looking for stability in the future and I hope to get there.

4 years in France
He is unreturnable because of risk of inhuman and degrading treatment

[1] Office français de protection des réfugiés et apatrides : French office for protection of refugees and stateless people

[2] Cour nationale du droit d’asile : National court of asylum right