PRO ASYL cri­ti­ci­zi­ses the Euro­pean poli­ce for­ces bru­tal depor­ta­ti­on methods and stubborn refu­sal to learn from pre­vious deaths

Osa­muy­ia Aik­pitan­hi from Nige­ria, 23 years old, is the latest vic­tim of bru­tal depor­ta­ti­on methods in Euro­pe. His death on June 9th aboard a sche­du­led air­craft of the Spa­nish air­line Ibe­ria demons­tra­tes that Euro­pean poli­ce for­ces are inca­pa­ble of lear­ning from past casu­al­ties. Aik­pitan­hi died bound and gagged.

Unli­ke hand­cuffs a gag ser­ves no secu­ri­ty pur­po­se. It is defi­ned as a device put into someo­ne’s mouth to pre­vent him from tal­king and shou­ting. Kee­ping him from shou­ting seems to have been exact­ly the rea­son why Aik­pitan­hi was gag­ged: He had resis­ted his depor­ta­ti­on two times before.

The­re is never any jus­ti­fi­ca­ti­on for gag­ging. Mouth-shut­ting and breath-impe­ding tech­ni­ques used in com­bi­na­ti­on with for­ce have been respon­si­ble for mul­ti­ple deaths during depor­ta­ti­on. The Spa­nish poli­ce knew per­fect­ly well how dan­ge­rous it is to gag someo­ne. Inde­ed, two pre­vious fata­li­ties during depor­ta­ti­ons exe­cu­t­ed by Ger­man poli­ce resul­ted from simi­lar tech­ni­ques that, at the time, had been appro­ved by the Ger­man Minis­try of the Inte­rior. PRO ASYL calls upon the Spa­nish aut­ho­ri­ties to con­duct a prompt and tho­rough inves­ti­ga­ti­on. In light of the fact that the deaths in Ger­ma­ny resul­ted from offi­cial­ly sanc­tion­ed poli­ci­es, any inves­ti­ga­ti­on in Spain must exami­ne the respon­si­bi­li­ty of the Minis­try as well as the poli­ce. Yes­ter­day the Spa­nish Home Secreta­ry announ­ced that the pre­sent government, unli­ke its pre­de­ces­sor, would allow neit­her to bind nor to ana­es­the­ti­ze depor­tees. Gag­ging should be equal­ly impermissible.

It is dis­tur­bing that the EU mem­ber sta­tes are incre­a­singly orga­ni­zing joint depor­ta­ti­ons without having agreed upon any basic stan­dards to govern them. PRO ASYL is deeply con­cer­ned about the incre­a­se in joint­ly plan­ned char­ter depor­ta­ti­ons in which the escor­ting offi­cers of dif­fe­rent mem­ber sta­tes may be ope­ra­ting under any man­ner of dif­fe­rent rules and methods. Breath-impe­ding tech­ni­ques through the use of gag­ging or adhe­si­ve tapes are ban­ned under Ger­man direc­ti­ves. The­se direc­ti­ves were imple­men­ted after Aamir Age­eb died aboard a Luft­han­sa air­craft in Frank­furt while being deported.

PRO ASYL deman­ds that tho­se respon­si­ble be punis­hed and clear-cut gui­de­li­nes ban­ning the use of exces­si­ve for­ce by the Spa­nish poli­ce be estab­lis­hed. The Spa­nish government should also allow moni­to­ring of depor­ta­ti­ons by non-government organizations.

Bernd Meso­vic, speaker

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