In April 2006 the allegations of Gambian Bakary J., a detainee awaiting deportation, were
made public for the first time. His wife, an Austrian citizen, had found him seriously
injured in detention, after he had been missing for a few days. She secretly took a photo
of her husband and took the case to the press. A doctor, later responsible for the
report, diagnosed severe injuries to the face and spine. J. had obviously been
abused. The three police officers responsible for the deportation stated however that J.
had incurred the injuries while trying to escape. This assertion was later exposed as a
lie in the course of the subsequent court proceedings. So what had really happened?
The policemen took J. into detention in 2006, prompting his deportation back to Gambia.
His wife was not informed of the procedure. That was also what J. told the flight
attendant on board the aircraft which was supposed to return him to Gambia via Brussels:
J. was not there voluntarily, and his wife and children knew nothing of his deportation.
The pilot then refused to take the detainee on his aircraft.
The three accused police officers then abducted J. to a vacant garage. There they beat
him, threatened him with murder, and played out a mock execution before running over
their victim with a police van. The officers were probably not expecting to ever be held
accountable for their actions. They forgot, however, that a log of their whereabouts was
created through their mobile telephone signals, thus refuting their claims of an
attempted escape by J.. When the burden of proof became too strong, the three defendants
confessed to having lied and eventually pleaded guilty. The court sentenced them to eight
months on probation for 'neglecting and tormenting a ward of the state'. According to the
verdict, the act was attributable to 'a generally comprehensible violent emotional