A group of Cameroonian asylum-seekers has alleged that officers from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) tortured them into signing deportation orders. The men say they were choked, beaten, and pepper-sprayed into fingerprinting or signing removal papers in a Mississippi detention center. The migrants had refused to sign, fearing death at the hands of Cameroonian government forces, and because they had asylum hearings pending. The 60 asylum-seekers were placed on a deportation flight to Cameroon on Oct. 13.
Lawyers and activists told The Guardian that efforts to speed up US deportations have “accelerated” in the run-up to the Nov. 3 presidential election, which could bring new leadership to ICE and a potential change of policy.
Thousands of Cameroonians have been killed and hundreds of thousands forced from their homes since a separatist conflict broke out in 2016 in the country’s western anglophone regions. Witness at the Border, a rights group, said the 60 Cameroonians deported from the United States on Oct. 13 are from the country’s English-speaking minority, and most claimed they had previously been tortured by the Cameroonian military.
From The New Humanitarian, Oct. 23
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