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ACUTE THREAT - ANTHONY ONYEIJ TO BE DEPORTED BY JULY 1st

by United Against Racism Tuesday, Jun. 26, 2001 at 11:59 AM
united@action.at Waehringerstr. 59, 1090 Vienna, Austria

JUSTICE FOR ANTHONY! International fax and email-campaign to prevent Anthony´s deportation to Nigeria and to demand his civil rights in Austria

Urgent Call for Help - International

DEPORTATION THREAT: ANTHONY ONYEIJ IN ACUTE DANGER

Anthony Onyeij (born 15.5.1976 in Akbor/Nigeria) has been held in detention for more than two years by the Austrian police and judiciary, even though he was innocent. Now he is to be deported, within the current calendar month (June), to Nigeria, where his life would be under acute threat from "Decree 33" and the life-threatening detention conditions in the local prisons. The reason for this hurried deportation planned by the

Authorities is clear: The 13 months' pretrial detention in 1999/2000 would, by itself, entitle Anthony to some ATS 500,000 (GBP 23,000, USD 40,000) in compensation for wrongful imprisonment.

Clearly, the Austrian authorities do not want to pay out such compensation. Deportation and the possible death of Anthony is simply the cheaper option.

We demand that the Austrian authorities

1. Release Anthony at once, rather than deport him

2. Pay Anthony, without any further delay, the compensation due to him for wrongful imprisonment

3. Abandon at once the proceedings against him for alleged "resistance against authority" during his attempted deportation in December 2000

>Please pass this message on and send messages protesting against the threatened deportation of Anthony Onyeij to the following authorities:

>Bundesministerium fuer Inneres / Ministry of the Interior

(+43 1) 53126-2580

Tel. (Secretariat Minister Strasser): (+43 1) 53126-2192

Fax (Secretariat Ministerial Cabinet): (+43 1) 53126-2554

e-mail: ministerbuero@bmi.gv.at

ernst.strasser@bmi.gv.at

ernst.strasser@oevp.at

SachbearbeiterIn (Responsible Official) Abteilung III:

Schrefler-Koenig

Tel.: (+43 1) 53126/4650

Fax: (+43 1) 53126/4648

e-mail: BMI-III-16@bmi.gv.at

Menschenrechtsbeirat/ Human Rights Adviser, Office within the Ministry

of the Interior

Fr. Johanna Landgrebe

Tel.: (+43 1) 53126-5145

Fax: (+43 1) 53126-5212

e-mail: menschenrechtsbeirat@csi.com

>Bundespolizeidirektion Wien / Federal Police Authority

Fremdenpolizeiliches Buero / Aliens Police Office

Tel.: (+43 1) 313 44

Fax: (+43 1) 313 44/9417

e-mail: bpdw.frb@polizei.gv.at

SachbearbeiterIn (Responsible Official) ADir. Schneider

Tel.: (+43 1) 313 44/9445

Pretrial detention -> Pre-deportation detention ->Pretrial detention

->Pre-deportation detention ->

>... innocently imprisoned for more than 2 years!

Anthony ONYEIJ (born 15.5.1976 in Akbor/Nigeria) was arrested, on the pretext of "drug trafficking", on 27.9.1999 during a racist police raid of the Journeymen's Hostel in Zohmanngasse (Vienna).

At his last trial hearing relating to this case, on 6 November 2000, he wasfound not guilty on all charges. He had therefore been held in pretrial detention, while innocent, for more than 13 months. According to the Austrian "Criminal Law Compensation Act" this would entitle him to about half a million Austrian Schillings. However, rather than decide on his claim for compensation, the authorities immediately pressed ahead with his deportation. That same day, Anthony was transferred to pre-deportation detention.

When being deported on 4 December 2000, Anthony refused to enter the aircraft, whereupon the deportation attempt was abandoned and he was transferred to Korneuburg prison for pretrial detention, charged with "resistance against authority". Both the court and the prosecution dispensed with any preliminary hearing or questions to the aircraft crew. After all, why bother with witnesses when you have police statements....

At his latest trial hearing at Korneuburg District Court, Anthony's counsel again insisted that the crew of the deportation aircraft be examined. Thereupon the court, because the deadline had expired, was forced to "release" him in early June. Again, however, rather than being set free, he was taken into pre-deportation detention.

On 5 Juni 2001, the Aliens Police Department applied for permission from the Ministry of the Interior to deport him by chartered aircraft. On 11 June, the Ministry replied, stating that "for organizational reasons, we are presently looking for a new airline with a view to collaboration with deportations by chartered aircraft". On 18 June "deportation by scheduled flight rather than by chartered aircraft, the latter being currently impossible, was initiated, said deportation to be assisted by WEGA officers" (WEGA being a police division notorious for its brutality) and plane tickets were purchased. An important point here is that Anthony cannot, according to the Austrian "Aliens Act", be held in pre-deportation detention beyond 1 July 2001.

To sum up: Anthony Onyeij has been innocently imprisoned by the Austrian police and judiciary for over 2 years.

>Deportation would put his life in danger!

Should Anthony be deported to Nigeria, he would yet again be facing imprisonment. There have been a number of cases of deportees to Nigeria being immediately arrested at Lagos airport, on the basis of the infamous "Decree 33" from 1990, which calls for a five year prison term for those "bringing the good name of Nigeria into disrepute".

It should also be mentioned at this point that Amnesty International still regards detention conditions in Nigerian prisons as "life-threatening". Nigerian Human Rights organizations such as Civil Liberties Organisation report more than 10,000 deaths over the last five years. In Lagos province alone, about 20 prison inmates per week (!) are dying due to inadequate supplies, untreated illnesses and epidemics.

>Further information at: http://united.action.at

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