Meanwhile in Austria ...

Where is Marcus Omofuma?? - The trial against the three Aliens Police officers who killed Marcus Omofuma begins on 4th of March

26.Feb.02 - Racism kills! Almost three years after Marcus Omofuma's death, the trial of three Aliens Police officers will commence on 4 March 2002 in the District Court at Korneuburg near Vienna. The three Aliens Police officers are being accused of "cruelty to a prisoner resulting in his death". This offence carries a penalty of between one and ten years' imprisonment. The dates scheduled for the trial are 4, 6, 7, 11, 13 and 14 March, and 10, 11 and 15 April.
Observers will be present at the trial of the three Aliens Police officers. Up-to-date news of each day in court will be available in German and English on and on Radio Orange 94.0 MHz in Vienna.

What went before

Marcus Omofuma died on Saturday, 1 May. He was being escorted by three Aliens Police officers who had been given the order to deport him. In so doing, they used adhesive tape to tie Marcus Omofuma to his seat and to seal his mouth as well as partially seal his nostrils. He suffocated even before the stopover at Sofia. Marcus Omofuma became a victim of the racist policies of Austria and the EU. The only offence Marcus Omofuma had been "guilty" of was to be illegally resident in Austria. Within a few hours, the news of his death was greeted by spontaneous demonstrations. During the following days and months there was widespread protest by immigrants and indigenous Austrians alike, demanding the immediate resignation of the politicians and officials responsible, the introduction of antidiscriminatory legislation, an immediate halt to further deportation and the abolition of all racist laws.

"Operation Spring"

We did not have to wait long for the Austrian state's repressive response to the vociferous protest against Austrian deportation methods, the police and the then Minister of the Interior, Karl Schlgl. On 27 May and 27 September 1999, just before an election on each occasion, police raids were carried out throughout Austria.
Almost 200 people, largely of African descent and including some antiracist activists, were criminalised as drug dealers on the flimsiest of evidence. As a result, public actions by immigrants against state racism tailed off rapidly. This practice is supported or accepted by official politics, the commercial media and large sections of the population. In addition to "Operation Spring", a number of further racist raids were carried out.

Not an isolated case

Marcus Omofuma's death in the course of forcible deportation is not an isolated case. A report by the Council of Europe states that at least 10 persons have died since 1998 in EU countries in the course of forcible deportation. This tally does not include the consequences suffered by deportees in the countries of destination. The report particularly criticises those techniques which involve partial or complete blockage of the respiratory tract, but also gagging by means of adhesive tape, the use of poison gas or tear gas, administration of sedatives without the consent of the person concerned, any restriction of movement except by means of handcuffs on the wrists, and the wearing of masks or hoods by escorting officers. Nor, according to the report, do transgressions by police officers constitute isolated cases. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution demanding an absolute ban on the arbitrary and disproportionate use of force in the course of deportations. The member states were unable to bring themselves to banning the practice of enforced deportation as such. Indeed, they are building up the walls of Fortress Europe, applying European isolationist and exclusionary policies to national legislation.

For freedom of movement

All persons living here shall have equal political and social rights - irrespective of origin, colour, religion, social status and gender. Differentiating instruments such as pre-deportation detention, deportation, racist laws and practices are incapable of being improved - the only solution is to prevent and abolish them.
They ensure that some are excluded while others benefit. They are existentially grounded in racism. Making deportations impossible and actively supporting refugees and migrants is one aspect of civil disobedience against institutional racism and constitutes practical solidarity with persecuted human beings.

rrrrrrr eine Welt ohne Rassismus (For A World Without Racism)