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Deportation canceled

At about the same time as the killing of Semira Adamu by officers of the Rijkswacht during an attempt to deport her two refugees attempted to stop themselves being deported from Schipol. They took their clothes off and began to scream and shout. The customs officers response was to handcuff them and for six of the officers to jump onto one of the refugees. The constabulary officers also attempted to silence the two by holding their mouths shut. Passengers and aircrew were witnesses to these disturbing scenes on board of the aeroplane. Through these acts of desperation the two refugees did manage to avoid being deported.

The two Ethiopean refugees, a five months pregnant woman and her husband had to report to the Immigration police in the Ter Appel Expulsion Centre, where they had been staying for some months. There they were grabbed, bought to the police station in Delfzijl and then that same evening dragged onto an aeroplane. Through physical resistance they were able to avoid being deported . They stipped off their clothes before actually having to enter the aeroplane, something that the aeroplanes ground crew were all witnesses to. They were both immediately handcuffed so tightly that their hands began to swell up. The man was held down by six constabulary officers. They were then forced onto the aircraft, escorted by two plain clothes constabulary officers, a man and a woman. Their hands were released from behind their backs but were still cuffed in front of them. When the two refugees asked to see their deportation papers they were told that the two officers only had one copy and were not allowed to see it. The woman continued to yell and shout and the customs officers continued attempting to physically silence her. The constabulary officers also whispered threats that were meant to be inaudible to other passengers that they would receive some kind of injection should they continue to struggle.

These scenes of mayhem were so disturbing that the pilot demanded that one of the customs officers show him the deportation warrants. A little later the two refugees were taken off of the aircraft, the captain wanted no part in this kind of explusion. They were once again locked up in a cell at Schipol. They were then taken back to a police cell in Delfzijl by police officers from Ter Appel Expulsion Centre. They were made to understand that their resistance would not stop them being deported and that the next time that it would be carried out they would be given injections if it were deemed neccesary. They were also told that their lawyer (a very good one ) would not be able to do anything else for them and that it would be better if they were to find another. The next few days were ones of fear, insomnia and loneliness for the two, held seperately in the cells. They were both too afraid to eat , fearing that their food contained sedatives. The woman was offered medicines that she had not asked for, without explanation of what they were, three times. She did not want to take them because she did not know what effect they would have on her unborn child and because she was afraid that they might contain sedatives. The Autonoom Centrum sent out a press release about the affair which was publicised by the regional press.

The Thursday after the police took them to the cells at Schipol for a second attempt to deport them. This also failed because of timely intervention by their lawyer and the Ethiopean embassy. They deportation was refused, and they had applied to immigrate to the US, an application which had a good chance of being accepted. Once again they spent some more hours in the prison bus being taken back to Delfzijl, were they were unable to eat or see each other. The Autonoom Centrum sent out yet another press release. Eight days later the woman as taken to the prison for aliens and the man to the prison in Zoetermeer. Both of them made a second application for refugee status. After three days of detention they were released. They were supposed to report to the expulsion centre in Ter Appel but the Immigration Service allowed them to go and stay with friends and at the Autonoom Centrum. The Immigration service showed some understanding for the fact that they did not want to return to Ter Appel because of the traumatic time they had there. They are waiting to hear what will happen with their second request for asylum. The woman is finally able to go to a normal doctor who is providing pre-natal care. The couples luggage, containing various important papers has been sent to Ethiopia, and has disappeared. Some of their money has also disappeared.

The two Ethiopeans are part of a group of some fifteen "ethio-cubans". People who, as children, during the ruler of the dictator Mengistu, were taken from their families and forcibly sent to Cuba (and also the USSR). There they were educated in order to later work for the Ethiopean regime. As well as education they received military training and were forced to work on the land. They formed a political movement among themselves which had contact with the Medhin party, a party which was banned in Ethiopia. When Fidel Castro ordered them to leave Cuba they would have had to return to Ethiopia, a country from which they had been uprooted and to which they could not return. The whole group requested for asylum in the Netherlands, which was refused to the majority. A number of them ended up in the

Expulsion Centre Ter Apel. The two mentioned were the first of the group to be forced through the inhumane system of expulsion from this country.

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