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Tarom's Deportation Service

April 2001

Tarom's services fit well in more than one aspect into this context: Regularly every Tuesday a Tarom plane with 30 to 80 so-called deportees starts from Düsseldorf airport. Tarom employs its own security personnel. They take care of the deportees at the plane's entrance and in case of resistance they are equipped with electric shock devices. Tarom does not only transport Romanian nationals but mostly Turkish nationals, often Kurds and also Lebanese nationals.

Tarom is anything but a newcomer to the deportation business. Since the pilot repatriation treaty concluded between Romania and Germany in September 1992, Romanians who are arrested crossing the Eastern border, are taken from Berlin airport Schönefeld to Bucharest by Tarom. At the end of 1994 it became known that in the framework of the meanwhile established carrier sanctions Tarom returns people of all continents to Bucharest. At Otopeni Airport they operate a kind of detention centre. There the deportees remain locked up, until they are forwarded to their supposed home countries.

As described in the current case above, after arriving from Germany the Turkish and Kurdish "deportees in transit" are imprisoned in a heavily guarded hall at Otopeni Airport until they are transported with a second plane to Istanbul.

Tarom, therefore, offers an all-round deportation service which is based on a special transportation contract with North Rhine-Westphalia regarding the weekly Tuesday flights. Planning and co-ordination of the mass repatriations are partly the responsibility of the district government Düsseldorf. But also the central migration police (BGS) headquarter Koblenz admitted at least "arrangements" with Tarom. The central migration police (BGS) surely is highly interested in that co-operation. After the deportees are inside the Tarom plane, the central migration police (BGS) do not get their hands dirty in cases of mass deportations. Tarom's security men take over that job, if necessary even using electric shock devices as became known in 1999.

On 11 May 1999, the Kurdish refugee Fercent Ucar had his hands and feet tied, was beaten and supposedly tranquillised by the central migration police (BGS) even on the way to the airport. During the whole flight Mr. Ucar remained tied up, he was beaten again and maltreated with an electric shock device. According to official statements, Tarom claimed that it was not possible "to calm down the troublesome Mr. U., to avoid an emergency landing and to restore security and order, the electric shock device was used once". In a further meeting with representatives from UNHCR in Bucharest the Tarom management confirmed that three electric shock devices are taken along on every deportation flight.

The 1999 deportation figures of Düsseldorf airport showed a rapid increase. According to official statistics most of the 4,355 deportees were 'accompanied' - by 'private security personnel' in fact. This development is mainly based on the mass deportations through Tarom. Taking the weekly figures of 30 to 80 deportees as a basis, makes up a yearly figure of 2,500 to 3,000 deportations from Düsseldorf alone: this is most certainly the largest and most profitable item of Tarom's deportation business. In addition, there are deportations from all over Germany through Tarom, some are even destined for Nigeria or Sri Lanka.

Moreover Tarom tried to conclude further deportation agreements with the German authorities, at the end of 1999 deportations to Kongo were definitely discussed.

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