Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rally & Formal Statement for Investigation into Suraj’s Death

On the morning of April 12th, APFS participated in a demonstration to appeal for further investigation into circumstances surrounding the death of Abubakar Awudu Suraj – which happened on March 22nd during a deportation flight.

In the afternoon, two APFS staff members, Suraj’s widow, and a lawyer went to the Chiba Prefectural Police Department and the Chiba District Public Prosecutor’s Office, both of which exercise jurisdiction over the Narita Airport Police, to file petitions for a proper investigation into the incident.

At the Chiba Prefectural Police Department, the Deputy Inspector from the First Investigation Division met with us and informed us as follows.

・This case is currently being investigated by the Narita Airport Police under the direction and cooperation of the Chiba Prefectural Police Department and the District Public Prosecutor’s Office. They do plan to press charges.
・The 10 Immigration officials who had accompanied Suraj on his deportation flight are undergoing questioning by police.
・There is a video of the deportation, and it is currently being reviewed.
・Examination of the deceased’s body is underway, including analysis of blood and internal organs.

APFS spoke with two trial case managers at the Chiba District Public Prosecutor’s Office. However, further details on the case were not available since the detective in charge was not in, and information had not yet been sent to the prosecutors. Therefore, we simply handed in our formal statement demanding proper investigation.

Afterwards we held a press conference, where we explained the case and the day’s actions to members of the media.

What is particularly upsetting about this case is the fact that no explanation whatsoever has been provided to Suraj’s widow and surviving family. If we weren’t engaging the authorities as we have been, Suraj’s widow would not have received any word of what is happening regarding the investigation.

Moreover, it’s unacceptable that Suraj’s widow, at a time of mourning and grief, should have to be taking part in these actions and chase after answers. In fact, she has said that she is losing sleep at night wondering whether the police are even capable of carrying out a proper investigation into the actions of Immigration officials considering that both share a “common bond” as government employees.