Lamine Dieng: Death at the Hand of the French Police
Three years ago, on the night of Sunday June 17, 2007, the French Police was called to Bidassoa Street, 20th District of Paris for a disturbance of the peace. On arrival, eight police officers found Lamine Dieng, a Senegalese born male. He was unarmed. Upon initial contact, Lamine was pinned to the ground by the police, handcuffed with one arm over his shoulder, the other bent backwards, and his ankles were tied with a leather strap. Five police officers carried him to their Police van. Once in the van, they placed him on the floor, faced down. One officer restrained his head, four others knelt respectively on his right and left shoulder, his back and his legs were then bent backwards. Lamine Dieng died that night. He was only 25 years old.
Two days later, the Police Authorities (IGS) concluded that Lamine died of natural cause: a heart failure. A week later, on June 22nd, 2007, the Lamine Dieng’s family filed a complaint. A support Group was also created with the aim of shedding light on Lamine’s death and to bring out to the public the truth about his death. French government initially prevented the family from seeing the body. However, after a month, the Authorities relented and gave Lamine’s body to the family. He has since been buried in Senegal. The implicated police officers are believed to still be on duty.
While Lamine’s family awaits Justice, the Support Committee: ‘Truth and Justice for Lamine Dieng’ is now part of a larger Campaign to eliminate the use of various life-threatening immobilization techniques by the French Police. On October 9, 2007, France was convicted by the European Court of Human Rights Abuse in the Case of SAOUD vs FRANCE, for using the same techniques the French Police used on Lamine. These immobilization techniques are illegal in Switzerland, Belgium and Germany.
The medical experts pinpointed the fact that Mohamed Saoud had been held to the ground for 35 minutes as the direct cause of his death from slow asphyxia. The Court deplored the fact that no precise instructions had been issued by the French authorities with regard to this type of immobilisation technique and that, despite the presence at the scene of professionals trained in emergency assistance, no treatment had been given to the young man prior to his cardiac arrest. Accordingly, the authorities had failed in their obligation to protect the life of Mohamed Saoud, and there had been a violation of Article 2.
The Case of SAOUD vs FRANCE
(Article 2, fragment)
In 2001, at the 3rd UN World Conference against Racism, one question remained central: that of police violence targeting African migrants at Europe’s borders and the black youth within America and European countries. As a result, the United Nations adopted a resolution calling on all States concerned to address the problem of anti-black racism, discrimination, racial profiling, and racial violence exercised by State agents whose mission is to protect the people. Ten years later, the situation continues to deteriorate in a general climate of impunity.
As Lamine’s death is being commemorated, there is a fundamental question that must be asked: When a state so demonstrates its possession of our bodies, we must ask ourselves, what is our real status (in France) in 2010? and indeed, in the Western World? To what extent has French government abolished slavery?
The Support Committee: TRUTH AND JUSTICE FOR LAMINE DIENG can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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TRUTH AND JUSTICE FOR LAMINE DIENG (Born August 23, 1981)