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Police to reveal results of investigation into immigrant death

Amateur video footage showed police officers repeatedly beating the man (picture: Telebärn) swissinfo.ch

The results of a preliminary investigation into allegations that Swiss police officers used excessive force to subdue a Turkish man are to be published on Wednesday.

This content was published on July 10, 2001 - 20:48

Amateur video footage showed officers belonging to an elite police unit in the Swiss capital, Bern, repeatedly beating the man, who later died of his injuries.

The video, which was broadcast by local television station "TeleBärn" on Sunday, brought back memories of the beating of a black man called Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers in March 1991.

The footage, shot by an amateur last Tuesday, showed a group of police officers surround a man on a balcony of a flat in Bern, before repeatedly beating him with what appeared to be truncheons.

The 42-year-old man, a Turkish immigrant, died from his injuries in hospital on Saturday.

Nerys Lee, spokeswoman for Amnesty International, said her organisation was "concerned" about the death of the Turkish immigrant and would closely monitor the police investigation.

"We very much hope the investigation will be carried out efficiently and to international standards," she said.

"It is imperative the results of any investigation be made public and anyone found guilty should be suspended from duty," she added.

A police spokesman, Jürg Mosimann, said the inquiry would seek to ascertain whether the police used excessive force in subduing the man.

The incident occurred last Tuesday, when police were summoned to the man's flat by neighbours, who said he was threatening his wife and three children with a hammer.

They were able to take the wife and children away without any difficulty, but the husband barricaded himself on balcony, threatening anyone who came near him with a knife.

A tense four-hour standoff ensued, before members of the elite Star police unit rushed the man, who stabbed one of the officers before being subdued.

The man was seriously injured during the assault and taken to Bern's Insel hospital, where he died on Saturday in the intensive care unit.

swissinfo with agencies

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