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Six Swiss Policemen Go On Trial For Allegedly Torturing Nigerian Man To Death

Posted by Amarachi on Mon 12th Jun, 2023 - tori.ng

The officers, whose names were held to Swiss privacy laws, would face charges of "homicide by neglect" in the case of Mike Ben Peter, a 39-year-old Nigerian man before a Lausanne criminal court.

 Swiss policemen

No less than six police officers in Switzerland have been dragged before the court.

They were arraigned for allegedly killing a man of Nigerian descent, Mike Ben Peter in 2018.

It was learned that the court case would open on Monday following the death of Mike Ben Peter from an alleged heart attack after he was pinned, face-down, for several minutes during arrest five years ago.

The officers, whose names were held to Swiss privacy laws, would face charges of "homicide by neglect" in the case of Mike Ben Peter, a 39-year-old Nigerian man before a Lausanne criminal court.

According to their lawyers, they will ensure the officers seek their acquittals.

According to the BBC, the case, which bears some similarities to George Floyd's death in the United States in May 2020, is one of four in which Black people have died following police interventions in Vaud canton since 2016. They have sparked protests and calls for reform.

However, unlike in Floyd's case, where officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in 2021 based in part on cellphone footage of him kneeling on the victim's neck, there is no footage of the act that allegedly lead to Ben Peter's death.

Last year, a panel of United Nations experts stated that Switzerland had systemic racism problems in a study that expressed severe concerns about "excessive use of force and the expectation of impunity by police" and mentioned this instance. A government-mandated assessment issued since acknowledged the problem was fundamental and that current efforts were insufficient.

The family's lawyer, Simon Ntah, said he was not optimistic about the policemen, who face a maximum jail sentence of three years. "As long as there isn't a mechanism for independent investigations against the police, we're stuck with the same problems," he told Reuters, referring to the fact that the same public prosecutor who works with police on other criminal cases is assigned to cases like this one.

The indictment showed that Ben Peter drew the attention of officers during a Lausanne drug patrol after he collected a bag later shown to contain marijuana.

He refused to cooperate with police orders, and it was revealed that policemen used pepper spray and knee kicks to the ribs and groyne to handcuff him on the ground. He struggled for 3 minutes while being held face-down by three cops, according to the report, until they observed he seemed unconscious.

According to the indictment, Ben Peter died of a heart attack caused by a combination of factors, including being placed on his stomach and subjected to stress, as well as his weight.



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