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UN experts slam treatment of Angolan deportee

UN experts on Thursday criticised the treatment of an Angolan who died in the custody of private security contractors while he was being expelled from Britain.

“I am disturbed at seeing the manner in which migrants are being treated, with no dignity at all, due to the criminalisation of irregular migration which leads to such a situation,” said UN independent expert Jorge Bustamente in a statement jointly issued with the UN working group on the use of mercenaries.

Jimmy Mubenga, 46, died on October 12 onboard a British Airways flight while he was being deported to his home country.

The man died after being restrained by three security officers from the private company G4S contracted by the British government.

According to British press, the man suffocated to death as the guards had held his head down on his knees to stop him from struggling.

“I hope the fact that British Airways staff responsible for safety and security on board did not intervene, despite numerous cries for help, is not a reflection of a growing indifference to the human rights of persons under custody of an authority,” Bustamente said.

The head of the mercenaries working group, Alexander Nikitin, meanwhile called on governments to ensure that security firms “are subject to the same rules as the law enforcement officials who would normally carry out these functions.”

The three guards were arrested Tuesday before being freed on bail until December, when an investigation on the case is expected to be concluded.