Afghan police chief violently beats asylum seekers rejected by Denmark – report
The incident took place on board a flight to the Afghan capital chartered by the Danish National Police on March 1, Politiken newspaper reported, citing a confidential police report.
A total of 50 Danish officers were on the plane deporting failed Afghan asylum seekers. After the plane landed, 11 Afghans left it voluntarily and a family of three were still in their seats when two men, identified as Alireza Rafie and Morteza Yousufi, refused to disembark.
Both started an argument with a chief of the Afghan border police. The situation then reportedly spiraled out of control.
The Afghan police chief gave “four-six powerful blows to the head” of Rafie, the report says, adding that a Danish officer was sitting several seats behind the man. Yousufi was also punched several times, it added.
“In this connection, he [the Afghan police officer] made use of force that would not have been deemed justifiable had Danish police acted similarly in the course of their duties in Denmark,” concludes the report.
The report did not escape the attention of human rights experts, who said that the incident was a clear violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
“There is no professional justification for police to use that kind of force,” Peter Vedel Kessing of the Danish Institute for Human Rights told Politiken.
Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen of Sweden’s Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights stated that Danish authorities still bear responsibility on deportation flights.
“In the situation described, I would support the argument that there is shared jurisdiction. That means that both Danish and Afghan authorities have responsibility for the situation that developed on the plane,” Gammeltoft-Hansen said.
According to Gammeltoft-Hansen, “the deported people can’t just refuse to leave the plane so they are flown back to Denmark, but the report does not say that any of the Danish officers tried to stop the [Afghan] police chief.”
The Danish National Police refused to comment on the incident, Politiken reports.
The newspaper reached Immigration Minister Inger Stojberg, who said that deportations should be done in “a proper and decent manner.”
“The crucial thing for me is that we deport those that have no right to be in Denmark. I do not want to comment on this specific case, but I would like to emphasize that deportations must be done in a proper and decent manner. That is also covered by our arrangements with the countries we deport to,” Stojberg said.
According to the refugees.dk website, 714 people applied for asylum in Denmark during the first quarter of 2017. “This is the lowest number in six years, and a steep fall compared to the previous years,” it said. In 2016, 6,235 people submitted applications for asylum.