[EN] Security guard violence in the AEO Bamberg – state-sanctioned criminalisation and persecution of refugees

 

Statement 8th May 2018

Justizwatch Berlin and the Support group against security guard violence in the AEO Bamberg

(German version)

Security guard violence in the AEO Bamberg – state-sanctioned criminalisation and persecution of refugees

The AEO Bamberg, a large reception and deportation camp in the state of Bavaria (Upper Franconia) is Germany’s flagship for refugee isolation. It faces now a scandal of systematic violence by private security guards against asylum seekers. We demand a thorough investigation to all the incidents.

We were alerted to these in the course of the ongoing support campaign for Kumba and Dia. The two Senegalese asylum seekers were criminalised after having witnessed an attack by the guards on a third West African asylum seeker in the AEO in early September 2017 . A number of former security employees and numerous inhabitants informed us that this is not the sole case: The scale of security guard violence against refugees in the AEO has been systematic since the summer of 2017. According to the inhabitants, the violence has somewhat gone down since the fall of 2017, but continues. The latest incident was on May 7 as a Nigerian couple were badly abused by the guards.

To our knowledge, there is currently an ongoing criminal investigation merely in one violent incident, on attempted homicide and grievous bodily harm: Several guards are investigated due to an attack on two West African asylum seekers in the canteen of the AEO in late September 2017. In March the Bamberg public prosecutor expressed their intention to manipulate this ongoing investigation, claiming that there was not enough evidence against the ex-guards.

Our independent investigation has revealed that several of the ex-guards witnessing against Kumba and Dia are under the above mentioned criminal investigation. We have gathered other testimonies against these and other (ex-)employees (example: Amadou Fofana). They confirm that particularly Black Africans have been confronted with an increasing violence and massive brutality by the private security company and have thereafter been victimised and criminalised by the police and the criminal justice system. Former guards have confirmed that a “special team” of security personnel was routinely provoking and enacting massive violence on refugees since the summer of 2017 and that this was authorised and encouraged by the bosses of the security company. The police would frequently record the guards’ version of the incidents.

Inhabitants and (former) employees also confirmed that the camp management received in 2017 several complaints on security guard violence which were ignored. Employees who complained to the security company got negative consequences, getting barred from working in the camp. Neither the camp management nor the Fair Guards security company have taken up the responsibility to make a public statement on the issue.

We demand a thorough investigation into all available evidences in the complex of security guard violence in the AEO Bamberg. We demand that the security company Fair Guards and camp management assume their responsibility in clearing it up and that the police and the criminal justice system distance themselves of any complicity with the systematic security violence by conducting a proper investigation into the matter.

We are however very sceptical about whether the police will really investigate the conduct of the guards. We are also aware of several unjust penalty orders issued by the prosecutor against victims and witnesses. We must challenge these practices and the way the camp social workers are persuading refugees to pay the penalties.

Unfortunately, the AEO is known for its cynical attitude against asylum seekers who are claimed to have no “prospect to stay”, including most other nationalities than Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia and Eritrea. A main objective of the camp is to push them to leave Germany, by any means it seems. The violence by guards against refugees in the AEO, currently housing 1500 inhabitants, is set in a context of other unlawful and unjust practices in the camp, including the withdrawal of pocket money, invalidation of asylum seeker ID’s and “tolerations” (Duldung), utterly questionable penalty and deportation orders and coercion to sign papers without knowing their content. Many have spent already more than a year in the AEO without right to work or schooling, pocket money, proper health care and subjected to arbitrary violence and harassment.

The first court hearing in the case against Kumba and Dia on March 27, 2018 was suspended shortly after beginning. Thereafter Dia was deported to Italy and the case against him was suspended. Currently Dia is in the deportation prison in Eichstätt, Bavaria, after returning from Italy where he was facing life on the street with no means of livelihood. The date for the next court hearing against Kumba is still to be announced.

Justizwatch Berlin and the Support group against security guard violence in the AEO Bamberg

Contact for more information: rassismus_justiz@mail36.net

Materials:

Read here Hannah Schultes: Gefangen in Bamberg – Misshandlung, Kriminalisierung, Abschiebung – im Vorzeigelager der CSU werden Geflüchtete systematisch entrechtet

Read here the call for support for Kumba and Dia in English.

Read here the call for support for Kumba and Dia in German.

Read here the report of the first court hearing of Kumba and Dia (German).

Watch here the testimony of Amadou Fofana on how Bamberg security guards attacked him in September 2017.

 

Donate to support persons victimised by the AEO Bamberg security guards:

Bayerischer Flüchtlingsrat

Bank für Sozialwirtschaft

IBAN: DE89 7002 0500 0008 8326 02

BIC: BFSWDE33MUE (München)

Verwendungszweck (message / short code) “Bamberg Securityverfahren”

Konto Nr: 88 32 602

BLZ: 700 205 00