Hunger striker dies in Swiss police shackles
Switzerland halted all "repatriation flights" for rejected asylum seekers yesterday after a Nigerian man on hunger strike died in police shackles at Zurich airport as he was being forced towards a plane that was about to deport him.
The 29-year-old man, who was a convicted drug dealer, had been on hunger strike for several days. Police said he collapsed on the tarmac and they immediately took off his shackles and called a doctor who tried to revive him.
The Swiss authorities said yesterday they had launched an investigation into the deportee's death. It was witnessed by 13 other Nigerians who were being deported with the man who died. They accused the police of inhumane treatment.
"They dealt with us like animals," one, named only as Emmanuel, told Switzerland's Swissinfo website. "The shackled our feet, knees, hands, hips arms and torso and made us wear a helmet like those worn by boxers. It was simply impossible to move."
It was the third death of a Swiss deportee since 1999. Last year Switzerland deployed 43 so-called "repatriation flights" which deported 360 people, mainly to Africa and the Balkans.
Switzerland voted in a referendum in favour of measures which tightened the country's already stringent immigration laws. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees called the vote "regrettable" and said it had left Switzerland with some of the toughest asylum laws in Europe. The UNHCR singled out Switzerland's insistence that asylum seekers should come up with identity documents within 48 hours or face deportation. It said many refugees were deprived of identification by the countries they had fled from.
Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
World news in pictures
'Swivel-gate': David Cameron at war with press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
Revealed: Eerie new images show forgotten French apartment that was abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and left untouched for 70 years
- 1 Heading for America? Prepare for the longest US immigration queues ever
- 2 Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
- 3 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 4 'Swivel-gate': David Cameron at war with press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£28000 - £31500 per annum + benefits: Randstad Education Newcastle: Permanent ...
£50000 - £58000 per annum + Benefits and Bonus: Progressive Recruitment: SAP F...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + BENS: Progressive Recruitment: Drupal Developer A ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + bens: Progressive Recruitment: C# WEB DEVELOPER Le...