13.06.2007

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

All pressreleases