"I just wanted to have my freedom"

By Christian BlockLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Paolo has been in prison twice. As a result, the thirty-something has been set back in his life plans. The story of a decisive experience and a fatal cigarette.

When he set foot on Luxembourg soil, Paolo (name changed by the editors) was just nine years old. At the time, the Grand Duchy granted his family international protection. Paolo goes to school and learns the national languages. He learns quickly so that he even can go to high school, which he attends until the fourth grade. It is a successful integration.

However, in the following years, two events take him "off track". Within a short time, he loses a friend and then his brother. Before that, he changes schools, where he has to repeat the year "due to little things". But he eventually drops out and wants to work. "Because of everything that had happened."

Paolo tells his story in a calm voice. He speaks openly, tries to answer the many questions as best he can. Although at one point he wanted (and still wants) nothing more than to finish with this chapter, he doesn't seem to mind sharing his experience. This may have something to do with the fact that, as he says himself, the prison experience has made him more resilient on a mental level.

Although he is known to the editors, Paolo does not want his story published under his real name. The whole thing is still too recent. It has only been a few months since he no longer has to deal with the justice system and not everyone in his circle of acquaintances would know about his story, he says. On top of that, he is "not necessarily proud" of the incidents.

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