Adamu case police sentenced

12th December 2003, Comments 0 comments

12 December 2003, BRUSSELS – A Brussels court convicted four former police officers of assault, battery and negligence Friday in the Semira Adamu case, the Nigerian asylum seeker who died in 1998 during a forced repatriation.

12 December 2003

BRUSSELS – A Brussels court convicted four former police officers of assault, battery and negligence Friday in the Semira Adamu case, the Nigerian asylum seeker who died in 1998 during a forced repatriation.

Semira died from suffocation when a cushion was pressed onto her face to prevent her struggling during an attempt to repatriate her to Lagos by airplane – she later died in hospital.  Five earlier attempts to repatriate her had failed.

Five police officers answered charges in court, one of whom was acquitted; three were given one year suspended sentences, while the fourth, the unit’s superior, received a 14-month suspended sentence.

The convictions were more severe than that which the public prosecutor had demanded.

The presiding magistrate said in his ruling that regulations had not been followed, excessive force had been used, and that police chiefs and the political world shared responsibility for Semira’s death, despite it not having been premeditated.

In reaction to the sentencing, a main police trade union called on its members not to carry out repatriations in future. A spokesman for the union said that the sentences were too severe and that the issue of repatriations would need to be discussed with the Interior Minister.

Semira's death in 1998 led to the resignation of the then Interior Minister Louis Tobback.

Subject: Belgian news

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