Belgium: Four Belgian police officers guilty over the death of Semira Adamu


On 12 December 2003 a Brussels court found four former Belgian police officers guilty of assault, battery and negligence in the case of Semira Adamu who died during a forced deportation in 1998.

Five police officers appeared before the court, one was acquitted; three were given one year suspended sentences, and the fourth, the unit’s chief, got a 14-month suspended sentence. The presiding magistrate said in his ruling that regulations had not been followed, excessive force had been used, and that police chiefs and that the government shared responsibility for Semira’s death. The court also ordered the Belgian state to pay undisclosed damages to her family. Semira's death in 1998 led to the resignation of the then Interior Minister Louis Tobback.

Semira Adamu, whose ankles were shackled, was on a plane going to Lagos in Nigeria. She died from suffocation when her face was pushed into a cushion and held there. She became unconscious and died later in hospital.When asked in court why the use of so much force was necessary one of the officers told the court that it was necessary: "to avoid disturbing other passengers".

Semira was 20 years old at the time of her death and resisted deportation because she was returning to a forced marriage to a 65 year old man who already had four wives.

See:
Amnesty International
Expatica report

 

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