Tunisian stowaway ready to risk Swiss return

Malcolm Curtis
Malcolm Curtis - [email protected] • 3 Oct, 2012 Updated Wed 3 Oct 2012 10:53 CEST

A deported 22-year-old Tunisian who stowed in the wheel well of a bus transporting the FC Zurich football team from Tunisia to Switzerland says he would do it again to gain entrance to the mountain country.

In an interview from Tunisia with Blick, the German-language newspaper, Rojdie Saidi said he was prepared to undergo the same risks.

With knees bent, the 1.80-metre tall Saidi hid in the small cavity for 30 hours as the team bus travelled from a Tunisian training camp in Sousse back to Switzerland in February 2011.

“I was scared to death during the trip,” he recalled.

“I had risked everything — the situation in Tunisia (just after the revolution that ousted longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali) was awful.”

Saidi was arrested by police after surprised cleaning staff noticed the man emerging from beneath the bus.

The cavity where he was hiding measured just 75 centimetres wide, 60 centimetres long and 80 centimetres high.

“It was a miracle that nothing happened to him,” bus driver René Senn said at the time.

Saidi was later released by police to await a procedure for asylum seekers.

For five months he studied German at a school but in July 2011 authorities turned down his application for asylum.

He was able to work, helping out at a bicycle rental outlet in Zurich and at an office.

Just before he was due to leave Switzerland he disappeared before police arrested him last summer.

After several weeks in a Zurich airport detention centre he was flown to Tunis, via Frankfurt on August 9th.

“All I got was an envelope with 400 euros and 120 francs,” Saidi told Blick.

Now the money is gone and he is looking for work.

“I know it sounds inconceivable, but if I do not work, I will flee again - if need be in a wheel (well)."



Malcolm Curtis 2012/10/03 10:53

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