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Chris Fisch © 2000

 

 
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So, to continue where I left off

They dragged me out of the cell and I was really scared now because they acted like they were going to either beat me up somewhere, or maybe just lock me away into isolation, which would definitely also be torture for me. Outside, they threw me against the wall and kicked my legs apart. When I tried to turn my head, they pressed it hard against the wall and then twisted my arms painfully upward to put on the handcuffs ­ this time very tight so I couldn't get out.

They dragged me away very roughly and I said something about my bag and my passport but they didn't answer, only made rough comments, without telling me what was actually happening. One more panicking eye contact as we passed the boys' cage, then they pushed me out of the police station, never releasing my twisted arms and threw me in the usual gentle manner into a police car. Three police got in and when all the doors were closed they finally let me know by yelling at me: "Doctor!" where we were actually going

I was very relieved, because I had really started to worry about what they were planning to do with me and I must say they couldn't have surprised me with anything. Although it was a surprise that they were, in fact, taking me to a doctor.

We drove through the whole cityI don't think I have EVER been in a car with worse drivers (including myself) in my LIFE. When turning corners, they went over the curb (I was praying for a flat tire!), when the light was about to turn red, they sped up until they saw they couldn't make it, then stepped on the brakes, only to decide in the last minute that they WERE, in fact, the law so they just sped up again and went through the red light anyway. When people tried to cross the street, they were TOTALLY disrespectful, never giving the right of way to anyone, and there were several manoeuvres that, if they hadn't been in a police car, I'm SURE that they would've caused somebody to get out of their car to ask them what the F*** they thought they were doing.

During the whole ride, I looked out my side of the window, never wanting to face the policeman next to me. Sometimes, he checked my handcuffs to see if they were still on tight and every time I moved they seemed to tense up to see what I was doing.

Our final destination was the police hospital. I was hoping to find some other injured friends there but I didn't see anyone because the place was, in fact, no different than a jail. There was barbed wire everywhere and like in a regular jail, there was no way of knowing who was inside, behind closed doors and barred windows.

When my side of the car was opened by the uniformed gentlemen, there was a big puddle of blood on the seat. Then these very gentle men took me by each (handcuffed) arm and escorted me inside the ugly building. They pushed me up the stairs and through sterile white corridors, never letting me just walk by myself but always pushing or pulling me, just to remind me that I was not going anywhere on my own.

They finally sat me down on a bench at the dead end of one of those white corridors, surrounded by three walls and then I was closed in by about seven policemen, three of which had come with me, while the other 4-5 seemed to be working there. They all stood there, grinning macho grins at me like I was a very interesting exotic bird, while 'my' three cops filled them in on how they had managed to 'tame' and constrain this wild creature. They made a big show (off) and tell to the other ones about what a big fight I had been and they exhibited their stained uniforms and their incredibly powerful mightiness to break me. All of them were laughing ugly laughs and saying provocative things I couldn't (luckily didn't have to) understand.

I was just sitting there on the bench, blood dripping on the floor from my hands, which were still tied behind my back. In my mind, I was certainly wishing to pounce at them and their ugly faces, but otherwise I was totally ignoring their macho game of waving about their phallic symbols (rubber sticks) in my face, trying to intimidate me. One time, I dared to say something about whether they felt good about themselves being such cowards and the big boss suddenly wiped off his grin and gave me a look of deep disgust and said: "SHUT UP" and I said "Oh, you DO speak English!". Just because before when I asked them the same question, I only got the usual "In Czech, you speak Czech" as an answer.

Finally, after having put up with this infantile behaviour for nearly 45 minutes, I was brought in to see a nurse. The policemen gave her some resume about me. She took a look at my hand and my general condition and asked me to explain what happened, which I did, including the many times I got hit on the head on the way to the jail. She said the fingers had to be sewn at the plastic surgery at a general hospital and for my head I was referred to the neurologist of the police. I attempted a small joke when she said 'neurologist' by pointing to myself and saying in amazed disbelief :"ME? Not THEM ??" looking at the cops.

It was a halfway nice nurse who wasn't mean to me and she seemed okay with the joke although she didn't answer. When she noticed in the typing of my referral that my name was 'Mach', she asked if my ancestors were Czech and I said, "if it helps my situation then yes".

Then we went off to the neurologist. There my head was examined with the kind of exercises that cops use to find out if you're on drugs. Afterwards, I was given a written statement of my neurological status being "normal", which I swore myself to show to every cop who dared to say I wasn't.

One good thing about the neurologists' office was that I finally managed to steal a pen (I hope this statement won't give me trouble in court). With the pen, I could strategically write Sergio's telephone number on a piece of paper in order to find some opportunity to pass it to someone halfway trustworthy, if I could find anyone. I knew I had good chances at the general hospital where we had to go to the plastic surgery to sew up my fingers. It was my only hope of communication.

We left the police hospital (the puddle of blood had been cleaned off the seat when I returned, only to be dripped on again) and drove to the general one. There I couldn't believe the way the cops were so slimy with all the nurses and especially how slimy the nurses were with the cops. They were all acting like best friends and I got a lot of very nasty looks from those nurses as soon as the cops had told them whatever it was they told them.

While I was there in the waiting room, I saw one, only one, woman sitting nearby the toilets and I had made a few attempts at friendly eye contact with her, before asking my body guards to be allowed to go to the toilet. The cops, who were busy flirting with the nurses were not very eager to accommodate me and told me to wait. But I guess they decided it was a better idea to let me go to the toilet before I went into surgery, so they took me over there. As I passed the woman, I tossed her the little note, which I had been holding in one of my hands which were, as usual handcuffed behind my back. (I had luckily remembered to put it in my BACKpocket, knowing they never cuffed my hands up front. But what they didn't know, was that there is a lot more to hide, BEHIND.)

Eventually, I was brought into the surgery room. Despite it being a surgery room, full of sterile surgical equipment and masked surgeons, I can't describe the feeling of relief it was to be in a room where the cops had to wait outside. I was hoping for the operation to last as long as possible, though I knew it would be done in a matter of minutes.

I tried to use the time and bombarded the surgeon with a full on explanation of what was happening to me and the likes of me and about the abusive treatment in the jails. I begged him to use his phone but he didn't want to get involved. He said the city was a war zone right now and one couldn't expect to have human rights respected. I asked him to at least, please, note down the telephone number which I had written on my foot and to please call to just give a life sign of me and to tell people that I was in Praha 4. It didn't seem like he was very excited to help me, although I really couldn't imagine why. Did I seem so dangerous or something? Did he really not believe what I said? I was very confused.

After my fingers were all sewn up (nine stitches on one finger alone!), I had a few more minutes to try and persuade the doctors and nurses to PLEASE let me use the phone. It was incredible how they could refuse but they did. The nurses were especially unfriendly, accusing me of the damage done to Prague, etcThey even gave me away to the police, telling them that I had asked to use the phone (maybe even about the number on my foot, but this I cannot know).

Finally, what worked was when I said that it was VERY important I call, because there was a little cat in my car (the police were back in the room now, which is why I said car instead of van) which hadn't had any water for two days. One nurse exclaimed, "The poor cat!" in a voice that was accusing me of committing an immense atrocity of having a cat and then just going off and getting arrested. But at least they cared about my cat and let me use the phone. I was amazed that the police let this happen. I guess that they maybe wanted to seem humane in front of the nurses.

I called Sergio and I can't even describe how great it was to hear him ask: "WHERE are you?!" I said I was in the hospital at the moment and asked him about my cat and the van. He said that the cat was safe in the flat and the van was still there, with two slashed tires and a broken window, which he had had to break to get the cat out. I managed to ask why he didn't get the key from Gilles, but then the police said "ONLY the CAT" and all I could still add was "they're taking the phone awa" before they snatched it out of my hand. Then we left the surgery and I hoped that Sergio had the number saved on his phone to terrorize the doctors for more information, after we were gone.

Outside, as we crossed the parking lot of the hospital, I had the great desire to break free. The handcuffs were loose enough to get out easily and the surroundings provided enough opportunity to disappear quickly...IF I could only outrun these three policemen. I knew this would be my ONLY chance to get away before going back to the jail, but I decided against it, simply because I figured they MUST release me within the next few hours. Otherwise I would be on the run without passport and car keys (I wasn't sure if there was another set, since Sergio said he had to break a window to get the cat). And anyway, if they caught me trying to escape, I could just make things a lot worse than they actually were and it could just be stupid to try to break out now.

So, I went totally against my instincts and greatest desire and got back into the much-hated police car. If I'd known what was ahead of me, I surely would have tried to escape right thenand if I'd known what was ahead of me, I'd have had the energy to outrun anyone.

We drove back to the police station. As we arrived and I got pulled out of the backseat, I already had a very uncomfortable suspicion, that the others were no longer thereand that SOMETHING WAS VERY WRONG. I was suddenly so afraid of the sinister ambience about what to expect here.

My fear was confirmed as soon as we passed the boys cage and I saw it emptythey took me to the girls cell and sure enough, the others were gone! Of course, inside I panicked, because I knew that something was wrong and also that I couldn't stay inside this cell by myself. The only reason I'd survived the last two days were due to the pleasant company inside but I couldn't bear the thought of being put in there alone.

"Where are my friends? Why are you still keeping me? It's been 24 hours, the other people are also gone, so why are you still keeping me?"

They laughed (ugly laughs as usual) and said my friends were at the immigration police. "So let's go," I said and I was surprised when they grabbed me and pulled me out of the cell - a moment of relief - but we didn't go back to the car. Instead they pushed/dragged me up the stairs and said "Interrorgation! Protocol!" Again ? I couldn't believe it.

Upstairs, they pushed me into a room. Inside there were three men, one behind a typewriter, one big official-looking guy and one older man. What exactly happened then, is hard for me to explain, or maybe say translate, because they spoke in a language that I couldn't understand, not only Czech The older man was a translator, and he mumbled on and on, with an occasional hiccup-like speech disorder, about 'my right to an opinion" and all this kind of strange palaver, which I recognized as the one when being seriously arrested with a charge. What was happening? This did not sound good at all.

In all their police jargon and paragraphs and all this stuff, this is what they said: "You're being accused of assaulting three police officers, injuring two of them." He read on the entire course of events during the 'assault', including every kick and every item of ripped clothing, and the three witnesses mentioned, seemed to be the very same people. The way they were describing me, you'd have thought they were talking about some exaggerated action movie.

Then they said I now have three options: either I answer their questions only in the presence of a lawyer, or I could answer for myself or I could refuse to answer altogether. First of all, I said, very clearly, that I had no idea what was going on here, that I was completely innocent of all their accusations and that I would say the same in front of a lawyer. Then I asked why I had not been allowed to call my lawyer for the last 24 hours and yes I would now please like to do so. They said they would call for me and that I had to give them the name and the number of the lawyer. I read them the number on the blue oph (legal observers) paper. They demanded to see the paper.

They said: "There is no name on this paper, these are not qualified lawyers, these are legal observers, they do not co-operate with the police."

"But they HAVE qualified lawyers there, if you just call them"

"But you don't know the name?"

"This legal service represents thousands of people, they have MANY lawyers, if you just
CALL them, you will KNOW a name."

"I'm afraid we cannot do that, you will need to know the name of your lawyer, before we can
call.bla bla bla"

I said one more time that they could easily find out the name if they just made one phone call, but that obviously they simply didn't WANT to know a name and they simply didn't WANT me to have a lawyer, that was all. I couldn't believe the games they were playing.

They then asked me a lot of questions about my personal details For some strange reason, they assumed I live in 234 Irvine street, New Mexico in the US (I'm not sure how they knew I ever even lived there). When I offered to give them my address in Austria, they said that the Santa Fe one is enough, although I told them I'm not presently living there and I am in fact registered in Vienna. But I don't know, maybe they just thought that someone with an American passport must actually live in the united States I really don't know, but I wasn't going to make a big issue about it, if they didn't want to believe me where I really live. I only wanted them to believe me that I was really innocent.

They also asked, "Do you consider yourself a person of property or fixed income?" and I said "No", and everything I said was written down in their protocol. They asked about my parents' names, and again there was a mention about the name "Mach" and the question whether I have Czech ancestors and again I said that if this helps me in any way then why not. When they found out that my father is a retired army kernel (alias "colonel"), after serving the army his entire life, and that my mother was employed in several international organizations and presently working on a project for the World Bank. When they asked me what my parents had to say about my activities, I said that we "keep to dialogue rather than war".

The interrorgation went on and on and I have difficulty recalling all the details, because they were speaking in endlessly boring streams of bureaucratic police jargon. Normally, it would've put me to sleep, had I not known that this jargon was my statement of arrest, my sentence of further police custody until further decision by some judge who'd never even met me, or had any idea of what really happened, to decide whether I'd be sent to prison. (Although it sounded suspiciously more like HOW LONG, rather than IF) According to the three witnesses, the same ones who accused me of attacking them, the judge would very likely decide that I was guilty of whatever charges were against meIt was my ticket to Hell. It was like some very nasty dream, getting more and more entangled in some kind of midnight express.

I insisted several more times to be allowed my phone call, but they refused. Instead, they gave me all kinds of papers written in Czech and told me to sign them. I said that I couldn't sign for something that I couldn't read, and certainly not for something that wasn't true. They put a lot of pressure on me, saying that if I refused to sign, "I was only delaying police procedures". I repeated again and again why I could not possibly sign their papers and that I was innocent of these accusations.

Eventually, they said that I only need to sign a paper, which stated that I was INFORMED of their accusations against me. I finally did sign this paper of which there were several copies, and I signed each one with my personal clear statement of: "I cannot read any of the above, but I have been informed of these FALSE accusations against me. I can only sign for my INNOCENCE" written across the bottom line of the text and my signature just beneath that.

They asked me if, since I wasn't allowed to call my own lawyer, if I would want a lawyer appointed to me, free of charge. I insisted, lawyer or no lawyer, I could only state my innocence. Also I made clear that, whether I spoke for myself or through a lawyer, I wanted to speak the truth and that I was speaking ONLY the truth and I expected the same of them. They asked what made me assume they weren't speaking the truth and I told them that they just now were accusing me of assaulting and injuring three police officers and that was certainly NOT the TRUTH. They said that was for the low court to find out.

I asked them why they were giving me all this trouble, what I had ever done to them. They answered that I had been informed of the accusations against me. I said that their accusations were WRONG, that I had only defended myself against the attacks of the police - who had attacked ME - and I used this opportunity to list (on the fingers of both hands) all the illegal actions preformed by the police, to name only a few. I also said that I, unlike them, had witnesses in my cell, who were at least not directly involved in the so-called assault, and asked where were they, what had happened to them?

They refused to answer any of my questions, implying that THEY were the ones who were here to ask questions and that I was only required to answer them. Then they read me a lot more police jargon about the following procedures against me and it was all sounding so terrible that I couldn't listen to it any longer. Also, the speech disorder of the translator was somewhat psychologically aggravating. Instead, I focused on the open window behind the three prosecuting bodies in front of me and on the car keys and passport on the table.

On the table was everything that had been in my bag at the time of the arrest. Besides Passport and car keys, this was: a gas mask, an assortment of fire crackers, some bits of papers and a yo-yo. They asked me about my having a gas mask and I said that it was for my own protection against THEIR gas, and that I would gladly prefer not to need one too. But having been informed about nerve gas being used in Seattle, I chose to protect myself, while at the same time I made it clear that I wished that this kind of thing were not necessary and that the police would take more care not to seriously injure people.

They asked if I'd been in Seattle and I said "No". They asked about what I was planning to do with the fireworks and I had to laugh, because like the gas mask, it was not difficult to guess and I said that they were completely harmless firecrackers, sold to children and they served to make nothing but a banging noise. And I added that the reason why not a single package was in fact open, was because the police's 'firecrackers' were already making such a racket, that I didn't bother to use them. They justified their silly questions (I was waiting for them to ask who I was planning to strangle with the yo-yo , although people who know the way I play yo-yo, would in fact classify it as a weapon) by saying that this case was not about these items, but only about the event which took place in the police station. Well, thank you.

At some point, I don't know exactly when, I asked to look through the bits of papers, to look if I had the name of my lawyer somewhere. While shuffling about in those papers with my left hand, my right hand sneaked over unnoticed to slip the car keys up my sleeve. Now all that was left was the passport and I was ready to get out of here.

   
   
   

 

 
   
         

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