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june 2000 

Deportation Class

In May 1999, Sudanese refugee Mohamed Aamir Ageeb died on board Lufthansa flight LH-558 going to Cairo. He was to be deported to Sudan, accompanied by three officers of the Bundesgrenzschutz, the national police force. The officers had fettered the 30-year-old, put a motorcyclist helmet on his head and pressed him onto the seat, suffocating him to death. Ageeb was not the first victim of this inhuman deportation practice on board a Lufthansa airplane. In 1994, 30-year-old Nigerian Kola Bankole, who had been given a tranquilizing injection, suffocated with a sock gag in his mouth before the plane even departed from Rhein-Main airport. Authorities and air companies quickly went back to everyday business after Aamir Ageeb's death by suffocation last year. Although these kinds of incidents usually pass without comment from airlines and government, this death set off a campaign titled no one is illegal against deportations by Lufthansa. With this campaign we protest against European deportation practice and criticize the role of air companies. Since Lufthansa has been criticized in public, representatives of the company have claimed that the airline objects in principle to deportations against the will of the individuals concerned and has not transported any since June 1999. Reality looks different:

On March 13th 2000, there was an incident on board Lufthansa flight LH 4115 travelling from Paris to Berlin. Two French civilian police officers maltreated an African passenger who offered resistance against his deportation, hitting him violently. Although he was screaming and other passengers were protesting loudly, there was no initial reaction from the crew. Only when Leipzig University Professor Klaus Gerd Giesen threatened the captain with legal prosecution was the deportation stopped.

With the campaign and by means of manifold actions and projects, 'no one is illegal' aims at reaching a vast audience and drawing attention to the role of Lufthansa in these unethical deportations. This is not a boycotting campaign. Rather, we rather invite flight passengers and the air crew to show courage and intervene in case of deportations. We want to achieve a commitment from Lufthansa that they will give up this business in theory and in practice.

In search of a poster to serve as identification for the campaign as well as being used during actions and events throughout the country, artists were invited to contribute to a poster competition. Almost 30 drafts were sent. These posters by artists from different cities and of graphically very diverse designs will be shown in this exposition.