Friday, June 10, 2011

Forced Extradition on Commercial Flight

I flew from Gatwick Airport to Riga today on an Air Baltic flight. On the flight three UK Border Agency agents were escorting a deportee to Uzbekistan via Riga. The man was deeply distressed as the audio on this video illustrates. We waited for about 40 minutes while the man screamed and shouted. He was handcuffed when he arrived on the flight. He yelled that he would be killed upon return to Uzbekistan and that his family would also be punished. Finally he was removed from the flight by two more Border Agency officers along with the three that were already accompanying him. The entire event was extremely distressing and the mother and baby that were sitting in my row of the fight were both in tears. They left the plane for the final 30 minutes of the yelling and screaming before the man was removed from the flight and taken to a police van on the tarmac. We were almost an hour late taking off.

Uzbekistan is a known human rights violator. United States Department of State defines Uzbekistan as "an authoritarian state with limited civil rights" and IHF express profound concern about "wide-scale violation of virtually all basic human rights". According to the reports, the most widespread violations are torture, arbitrary arrests, and various restrictions of freedoms: of religion, of speech and press, of free association and assembly. The reports maintain that the violations are most often committed against members of religious organizations, independent journalists, human right activists, and political activists, including members of the banned opposition parties. In 2005, Uzbekistan was included into Freedom House's "The Worst of the Worst: The World's Most Repressive Societies".

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