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Eritrean ICE detainee commits suicide during Egypt transit Open in fullscreen

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Eritrean ICE detainee commits suicide during Egypt transit

The Eritrean man killed himself at Cairo International Airport [AFP]

Date of publication: 9 June, 2018

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An Eritrean man who was being deported back to the East African state has committed suicide during transit in Egypt.
An Eritrean man who was being deported from the US by the country's immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) agency committed suicide on Saturday in Egypt while in transit back to the East African state, AP has reported.

Zeresenay Ermias Testfatsion was being detained by the ICE agency, when he took his life at a holding bay at Cairo International Airport.

The 34-year-old's body was found at a shower area in the airport during transit, an Egyptian official told the news agency.

His body was taken to Heliopolis Hospital in the Egyptian capital with ICE later confirming his death.

Testfatsion had been in custody since February 2017, the US immigration agency confirmed after he was arrested in Texas for illegally entering the country to seek asylum.

Eritrea has a horrifying human rights record, including forced conscription that can last decades and which human rights groups say amounts to slavery.

The country is governed by dictator Isaias Afewerki who has been in power for 26 years.

Eritrea has no legislature, no independent civil society organisations or media outlets, and no independent judiciary, Human Rights Watch has said.

It is consistently bottom, or near bottom, in Reporters Without Borders' annual World Press Freedom Index report.

Egypt also has a notorious human rights record, without thousands of activists and suspected opponents of the Cairo regime held without charge, and tortured, in overpacked prisons.

ICE's deportation process under President Donald Trump has been severely criticised by human rights groups.

So many immigrants have been rounded up during a recent sweep that 1,600 people are being detained in prisons while they wait deportation.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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