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Swiss explain asylum seeker death to Nigeria

The Federal Migration Office head has returned from a trip to Nigeria where he explained to officials how a Nigerian died while being deported.

This content was published on July 14, 2010 - 11:45

Alard du Bois-Reymond expressed regret to the Nigerian foreign minister over the death and relayed details of an autopsy that found the 29-year-old Nigerian asylum seeker had died of a heart attack while at Zurich airport last year.

The victim was suffering from a serious heart condition that had not been diagnosed. The heart attack was probably brought on by the fact that the man had been on hunger strike and was in a stressed state at the time.

The Nigerian, a convicted drug dealer, had refused to leave the country and had been forcibly restrained while boarding a deportation flight.

Du Bois-Reymond said the meeting, which also included Swiss foreign ministry representatives, had given closure to the affair and re-established “mutual trust” between the two countries.

He also proposed that Nigerian representatives be present on special deportation flights from Switzerland to defuse tensions that may arise. Deportation flights were halted following the death but have since resumed to all countries besides Nigeria. These too are expected to start again this month.

The trip was also a chance for the Swiss to discuss closer cooperation with Nigeria in dealing with the problem of migration. A Nigerian delegation is due to visit Switzerland in October to continue discussions on the issue.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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