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Somali Nationals Humiliated and Degraded by ICE

Washington, D.C. | www.adc.org | December 12, 2017 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is extremely troubled by recent direct reports it has received of inhumane and degrading treatment of 92 Somali nationals by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. The treatment occurred aboard a flight departing Louisiana and landing in Senegal. The flight, which left the U.S. on December 7, was intended to land in Somalia, but was grounded in Senegal due to technical issues with the plane. The plane sat on the tarmac for nearly 24 hours, with the passengers not permitted to get off-of the plane. Ultimately the flight was diverted back to Miami, Florida, where it landed on late Friday evening. For nearly 46 hours passengers on the plane remained shackled, were not given adequate food or water, and denied access to a working restroom.

With a lack of a working restroom, ADC has received reports of some passengers being forced to relieve themselves in empty bottles, while others urinated on themselves. The air condition on the plane was not working, and the temperature was at an inhumane level. Reports also indicate that that ICE officials and Senegalese security personnel were extremely abusive throughout the entire transport process.

The passengers are currently detained by ICE officials as another flight is being scheduled. ADC demands that ICE take immediate action to rectify this matter. In a letter to ICE Acting Director Thomas D. Homan, ADC demanded that, (1) all detainees be given immediate medical attention; (2) ICE delay the removal of these individuals for at least 30 days to provide ample time for the detainees to meet with their attorneys; and (3) ICE terminate the contract with the service provider who was retained to transport the individuals to Somalia.

ADC Legal Director Abed Ayoub states, “Forcing these individuals to remain restrained for nearly a day on an airport tarmac, in smoldering temperatures, without consistent access to food, water, toilets or air-conditioning is simply inhumane and unacceptable. ICE cannot act with such disregard for its detainees, and must be held accountable. ADC demands answers from ICE as to how this occurred and what will be done to prevent it from happening again.”

ADC will continue to monitor the situation and will provide regular updates. If you know anyone who is mistreated by ICE please email the ADC legal department to legal@adc.org.

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