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IAIA: On the Death of a Nigerian Prisoner (vom 08.09.2004),
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[08. Sep 2004]

IAIA: On the Death of a Nigerian Prisoner

Communique on the death of Mr. Edwin Ndupu in the Stein penitentiary by International Association for intergrative Action (IAIA)

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR INTEGRATIVE ACTION (IAIA)

COMMUNIQUE ON THE DEATH OF MR. EDWIN NDUPU
Monday 06 September 2004

The 38 year old Nigerian prisoner, Mr. Edwin NDUPU, who died on 19 August 2004 at the Stein penitentiary, was beaten mercilessly by the prison police shortly before he died. This was disclosed to the Vienna based International Association for Integrative Action (IAIA) in a written statement by Mr. Frederick Olejak, a fellow Stein inmate.

On 19 August 2004, Mr. Ndupu who some time earlier had visited the Mauer-Oehling psychiatric hospital, apparently for treatment, had a quarrel with a fellow inmate, Mr. Wallner in the court yard premises of the prison.

Upon arrival at the scene of the 19 August quarrel the police promptly sent Messrs Ndupu and Wallner back to their cells. They followed Mr. Ndupu to his cell at W III. Presently some troops of a special task force ("Sturmmannschaft") each wearing protective gear (helmet with visual aid, shield) and carrying a club or baton, descended on Ndupu’s cell on the 3rd floor. They were about eight in number. In self defense, Mr. Ndupu grabbed a blunt table or bread knife, an item of the prison’s inventory. The police released tear gas at Mr. Ndupu, sprayed him with pepper-spray, and then rained down blows on him with fists and batons. By the time the police had finished they numbered about ten; some of their wooden batons had splintered into two. They handcuffed the prisoner and took him down to "the Cellar" on the 1st floor. Drops of blood trailed the entire route of the procession to "the Cellar". The prison priest, Rektor Lesiak, came by accidentally at this point and saw as Mr. Ndupu was being taken down to "the Cellar".

In his new cell down at "the Cellar", Mr. Ndupu was again mercilessly beaten by the special force troops and then injected with a tranquilizer by a blonde prison lady doctor. Mr. Ndupu’s neighbour on the 1st floor, Mr. Amyn Gindia, recalled that after a short while (supposedly following the injection of the tranquilizer) it was very quiet in Ndupu’s cell. Subsequently, a medical doctor brought in from outside the prisons certified Ndupu dead.

Following reports of Ndupu’s death in the press, Mr. Amyn Gindia was relocated to the Garsten prisons while Mr. Wallner was moved to an unnamed facility. IAIA learnt on Saturday 4th September 2004 from Mr. Olejak that Mr. Wallner has been returned to the Stein facility.

The Justice Minister, Mrs. Karin Miklautsch is reported to have ordered for an autopsy to determine the cause of death. An autopsy is reported to have established that Mr. Ndupu died of heart failure.

IAIA contacted the Nigerian embassy in Vienna and was informed that the embassy was already in touch with the Austrian authorities on the matter.

On the 1st of May 1999, Mr. Marcus Omofuma, a Nigerian asylum applicant died in the custody of three Austrian police officers aboard a Bulgarian aircraft en route to Nigeria on deportation. The police officers had hog-tied Mr. Omofuma to his seat with a ream adhesive tape with which also they gagged his mouth and blocked his nostrils in part. While an Austrian government autopsy found heart failure to be the cause of Mr. Omofuma’s death two independent autopsies independently determined that the cause of death was asphyxiation. The Minister of Interior at the time, Mr. Karl Schloegl, denied any wrong doing on the part of the police and refused to resign his office despite massive calls for his resignation. It took almost three years before the three police officers who handled Mr. Omofuma until he died were prosecuted. On 15 April 2002, a court in Kornueburg found the police officers, guilty of "causing a prisoner’s death under dangerous circumstances" - a culpability with the gravity of a traffic offense - and Mr. Omofuma himself partly guilty of his death.

On the 15th of July 2003 Mr. Cheibani Wague, a Mauritanian, was beaten up by the Austrian police and then injected with a tranquilizer. He died shortly after. An official autopsy found the cause of death to be heart failure. The Minister of Interior, Mr. Ernst Strasser insisted that the police had behaved and acted properly. An independent Administrative Court (UVS) in Vienna found the police guilty of unlawful behaviour and measures, in their handling of Mr. Wague.

Given the foregoing and bearing in mind that the prisoner, Mr. Edwin Ndupu was not on the death row, the IAIA makes the following claim and demands:

1. The circumstances of Mr. Ndupu’s death at the Stein facility on 19 August 2004 are very unclear and extremely suspicious.
2. The Austrian government should immediately release the remains of Mr. Ndupu to enable an independent autopsy.
3. The Austrian government should immediately commission an inquiry into the death of Mr. Ndupu to properly establish the true nature and circumstances of the prisoner’s death.


Dr. Chibo Onyeji, President, IAIA.
Dr. Lennart Binder, Secretary, IAIA

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The International Association for Integrative Action (IAIA), headquartered in Vienna, is a non-profit organization dedicated to initiatives that promote justice and peaceful coexistence in societies.
Address: Rochusgasse 2, A-1030 Vienna, Austria.
Tel.: + 43 - 1 - 71 2 14 01 and + 43 - 676 - 936 23 73.