Mistreatment of Gambian Deportees by German Police Raises Concerns & Demands for Justice

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Doctors at the country's main hospital in Banjul helping remove the mental ring gagged around Saihou Kanteh's mouth.

By: Alieu Ceesay

Human rights activists in Germany from the Collective Solidarity movement have called on German authorities to investigate six police officers accused of mistreating Gambian deportee Saihou Kanteh during his deportation from Germany to The Gambia.

“The German police’s practice of harsh and insensitive deportation and mistreatment of deportees, particularly Gambian deportees, is troubling. Following a thorough examination into the recent deportation of Gambians from Germany to The Gambia, it is discouraging and disturbing to discover the mistreatment suffered by Saihou Kanteh, a Gambian deportee from Basse Dampha Kunda in the Upper River Region. He claims that around six German police officers mistreated him by violently restraining him and gagging his mouth with a metal ring before deporting him to Banjul on Turkish Airlines. According to a local Gambian online newspaper, Saihou was deported on the morning of Wednesday, March 13, 2024, along with sixteen other Gambian migrants. We call on the Gambian authorities to investigate this deportation exercise,” the group said in a statement on Monday.

The incident has sparked outrage among activists from the collective Solidarity Movement, calling for an investigation into the deportation exercise.

“This inhumane treatment of certain deportees resulted in several health concerns as if we had no rights to live and travel the length and breadth of the planet,” said a spokesperson for the Solidarity Movement. “We do not deserve such treatment. We are totally against this barbaric act and condemn it.”

The Solidarity Movement has also raised concerns about the alarming rate of deportations to The Gambia, particularly those led by German police. “Since the beginning of 2023, there have been deportation charters to The Gambia every month,” the spokesperson added. “We are demanding an immediate stop to all forms of deportation, especially to The Gambia.”

The Movement is calling for justice for Saihou Kanteh and other mistreated deportees. “We want to know the names of the police officers responsible and take them to court,” the spokesperson emphasized. “We call for respect for human dignity and freedom of movement as a basic human right for all, not just for Europeans.”

The victim, Saikou Kanteh, told TAT that he was deported into the country in the early hours of Wednesday, March 13, 2024, together with more than sixteen other Gambian migrants.

“The metal ring they (German Police) gagged my mouth with was so tied that it wounded my tongue and was all along bleeding and oozing saliva from my mouth. When I arrived in Banjul, my brother tried to help me remove it, but we couldn’t; we went to Ndemban Clinic, which also tried to no avail before subsequently referring me to the EFSTH, where doctors took more than 10 minutes to remove it,” Saikou Kanteh, further disclosed to TAT last week during an interview.

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