Outrage over deaths of migrants being deported

Agence France Presse, 22 January 2003

"PARIS (AFP) -- Three French police officers have been suspended after the death of a 24-year-old illegal immigrant from Somalia who lost consciousness while being deported last week, the police service said Wednesday.

The three, all stationed at Paris's Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport, were relieved of their functions Tuesday, the service said in a statement.

They had been assigned to deport the Somali, identified as Getu Hagos Mariame, on a flight last Thursday to South Africa.

Mariame fell unconscious during the process and was taken to a Paris hospital, where he died Saturday. An autopsy was being performed to determine the cause of death.

The French police have come under increasing scrutiny after a number of incidents involving deportees.

Last Friday, another two officers were suspended after breaking the nose of a witness who threatened to report them for violently manhandling a handcuffed suspect in a Paris street.

On December 30, a 52-year-old Argentine man who was also being deported died of a heart attack as he was put aboard a plane at Charles de Gaulle airport. An autopsy concluded death by natural causes, but various immigration lobby groups said they suspected a cover-up.

The same day, four French officers found themselves being filmed by a Malian television crew on another plane leaving Paris while they roughly held down a Malian illegal immigrant.

The officers confiscated the cameraman's tape to delete the footage and detained the crew, provoking an outcry by the Union of West African Journalists."

See: France: Death of Argentian migrant

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