R a c i s m K i l l s
Every year many people are dying by the racist policy of Fortress Europe. Deaths during deportations are accepted conscious. Marcus Omofuma is not an isolated case....

no-racism.net | Racism Kills | 1 Mai 2002
last update: 09.06.2002


  traveling memorial for the people killed through racist police violence

1. Mai 2002

see also:

- Report and Pictures from 1st of May 2002 (only in german)

- Campaign: Memorial for those killed through racist police violence

On the 1st of May we unveiled a memorial for all those who lost their lives through the violence of the racist police forces. Marcus Omofuma‘s death is one, among many, of such cases. Many immigrants have died through the state apparatus, in deportation process, „border protection“ and in cases of „combating drug abuse“.

Here and elsewhere in Europe

On the 1st of May 2001 the campaign for the erection of the monument for the people killed through racist police violence started in front of the National Theatre in Vienna. Nobody knew at that time that on the same day, in Switzerland, at 2 o‘clock in the morning two officers of the „unité spéciale d’intervention“ - officers from the police in Wallis, who are specially trained for anti-terror operations - had stormed into the cell of Samson Chukwu, who was held in deportation camp. One hour later, at 3 o’clock, the doctor confirmed Samson Chukwu dead. He should have been deported to Lagos, Nigeria, in a plane chartered by the Federal Office for Refugees. Still, on the same day, the plane left for Lagos without Samson Chukwu on it.

Time and again the brutality of the officials who carry out the deportation practices becomes obvious. Sometimes the death cases are publicly known, these include deaths on the plane, in prison, by drowning and suffocation. The brutal „frontier protection“ system accepts the death of human beings.

Those three aliens registration officers who on the 1st of May 1999 gagged and tied Marcus Omofuma, fixing him with layers of adhesive tape to his plane seat, were now taken to court for tormenting a prisoner, which resulted in his death. Although it was clear, which pain Marcus Omofuma had suffered during his struggle for life that lasted up to an hour, the three aliens registration officers were discharged on tormenting a prisoner and were found guilty only of manslaughter under extraordinary conditions. They were then given only eight months suspended sentence, on three years parole.
The Court in Korneuburg near Vienna, where the trial took place, stated that the treatment of Marcus Omofuma was the most correct. The only question that was put up was whether the officers could have noticed that Marcus Omofuma was suffocating painfully. The answer was no. But they would have been able to check whether he was still alive. „If I treat someone that way, I have to be really careful.“, jugde Fiala stated. But as laymen, whatelse then could the officials be accused of? The taping of prisoners had become a current practice, that was not seen as a sign of „commonality“ of racist practices, but as evidence that there was no intent to torment or cause pain. The practice was said to be part of the police job, and was considered as a measure that was used „not to torment Omofuma, but to quiet him and keep him from biting“.
With this regard, the General Secretary of Amnesty International in Austria had this comment: „The end obviously justifies the means, and it is more important than any regard for and respect to human rights“. A „sentence that is dramatically a wrong sign“. The Court in Korneuburg only stated that this time the policemen went too far. So they were sentenced for not preventing the „accident“ from happening. Joint guilt was attributed to the person who was put to death, because according to them he was reluctant to his deportation. This was valued as mitigating and extenuating circumstances, aswell as the joint guilt of the people „behind the system“.

Recent developments

Since the death of Marcus Omofuma the situation has not improved. Rules for deportation have been detailed out, and only „specially trained“ officials are allowed to carry them out, while the end to deportation is still far away. The racist consensus, that people could be deported as chosen or required, has, of course, been strengthened. The machinery of deportation has become even more flawless. And the persecution on grounds of skin colour has long been institutionalised.
A lot has been happening without the knowledge of the public, which faces exclusion from such affairs. Independent witnesses are also not welcome. Instead more and more people are taking part in denunciations of others. And if something happens, it’s always the fault of the others. Those who torture others are not guilty, but those who are stripped and divested of their rights.
With the so-called „Integrationsvertrag“ proposal another stiffening of the rights of the asylum seekers has been planned. Such are quicker procedures and restrictions to freedom of movement, and stronger restrictions to the possibilities of applying for asylum. A stop to new immigration, even more restrictions for family members to join their relatives, and a system of internment and deportation are being put through on the European level as the national sovereignty remains in force. And the racist consensus strengthens.

SPÖ, Racism and the Right

The first stop of the memorial was the lawn in front of the National Theatre opposite the headquarters of the Austrian Social Democratic Party (SPÖ). This was supposed to be a reminder that it was the social democrat by name Schlögl, former Minister of the Interior, and the social democrat by name Klima, former Federal Chancellor of Austria, who hindered any political consequences from being taken after the death of Marcus Omofuma. These politicians and the whole SPÖ as a party, thereby, did not only support the murderous deportation system, but they failed to at least question the racist method of deportation as to initiate a change of policy. Rather than do that they stuck to their racist practices, encouraging the political developments, which less than one year later led to a coalition of the right and extreme-right wings being in government in Austria.

Until a permanent stay for the memorial is found, it will be presented in different places in Austria as to emphasize their connections with institutionalized racism.

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