Belgian cabin crews take action over refugee murder

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Belgian cabin crews take action over refugee murder

Belgian cabin crews take action over refugee murder

By Rina Anticich

On September 21, Semira Adamu, a 20-year-old Nigerian woman, was murdered by her police escort while awaiting deportation from Belgium. Belgian authorities had rejected her request for asylum, and she was forced aboard a Sabena flight. When she became distressed and began to scream, her police escort responded by holding a cushion over her face for 15 minutes, suffocating her.

Belgian cabin crews have witnessed refugees brought onto aircraft shackled, bound with tape and drugged. Crews have been asked to help police administer sedatives to deportees without their knowledge.

Belgian civil aviation unions observed a one-minute silence protesting Semira Adamu's murder on October 1, and are coordinating other protest actions with Belgian refugee organisations.

The International Transport Workers Federation issued a statement on October 7 saying it does not question the right of governments to deport asylum seekers once they have been through the due process of law.

However, the ITF insists: "The international rights of asylum seekers and proper due legal process should be fully respected; degrading treatment or excessive force should never be used; civil air transport should not be used for such police operations; and civil aviation staff should not be required to undertake any auxiliary immigration policing duties."