“When I came to the US I had a dream – this is the country of peace and justice and human rights,” explained Khaled Miah, 36, to The Guardian, which did the investigation.
“Now, I don’t even want to say the word, ‘America’,” he exclaimed upon his return to Bangladesh.
On April 3, 85 South Asian asylum seekers were repatriated to Bangladesh, India, and Nepal on a flight after failing to have gained asylum in the US.
Suhel Ahmed, 29, told the Guardian that he had witnessed several of his consorts wrapped into body bags. “That’s something that made us really afraid,” he said. “And me and a lot of fellow detainees started crying and begging [the ICE officers] not to do the same thing to us – we told them, ‘we’ll walk, ‘we’ll walk’ [on to the plane].”
It was reported that ICE officers sometimes use what they call “security” blankets to subdue detainees, which have Velcro belts to strap individuals down so they can be carried.
But the pain and humiliation did not stop there.
Ahmed explained that he also witnessed the ICE officers administering electric shocks to his handcuffed companions. “My body was shaking,” he said.
In email correspondence with The Guardian, ICE officials denied the accusations of abuse, but wrote that they used “minimal force” because “approximately a dozen of the detainees refused to comply with officers’ instructions and became combative.”
One detainee, Didar Alam, 29, did say that he resisted because he feared for his life upon returning to Bangladesh. He belongs to an opposition party of the ruling Awami League, which has been accused of killings and forced disappearances.