Austrian police given suspended jail terms for suffocating refugee   ho killed austria

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The Independent Online

Three Austrian policemen were given suspended jail terms yesterday for causing the death of a Nigerian asylum-seeker being deported from Vienna three years ago.

Three Austrian policemen were given suspended jail terms yesterday for causing the death of a Nigerian asylum-seeker being deported from Vienna three years ago.

The prosecution at the court in Korneuburg had sought up to 10 years' custody for "maltreatment of a prisoner with fatal consequences". But the officers were found guilty of "negligent manslaughter in particularly dangerous conditions" and given eight-month suspended sentences.

The judge said Marcus Omofuma, 25, suffered a painful death by suffocation but there was no proof the officers intended to harm him. In 1999, he was being deported to Lagos after his application for asylum was rejected. The three policemen accompanied him on the first leg of the flight, from Vienna to Sofia. When he tried to resist on the plane they taped his mouth and nose shut and bound him to his seat.

Witnesses said they increased the amount of tape every time he tried to scream and tightened a belt around his chest. He was pronounced dead shortly after the aircraft landed in Sofia. The death provoked allegations of widespread police brutality.

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