Leaked footage showing the death of a Moroccan teenager has sparked calls for his case to be reopened, according to a report by Al Jazeera.
In July last year, police opened an inquiry into the death of Ilyas Al-Taheri, 18, but it was ruled by the judge handling the case as an “accidental death.”
Al-Taheri was tied up to a bed at the Tierras de Oria detention facility in Almeria, Spain, which was denounced by rights groups as dangerous.
The footage which was leaked to Spanish newspaper El Pais was said to have shown six men roughly wrestling the victim on to a bed face-down, while one was kneeling on his buttocks to tighten the strap, eventually realising he was no longer breathing.
No act of violence was shown from the victim which would be a requisite for the police to resort to such restraint.
“If you see the video, you’ll never believe it was accidental as the judge said,” news agency Agence France-Presse quoted the victim’s brother, Anass al-Taheri, 22, as saying.
“The video [showed] how they killed him. It’s murder,” he added.
The victim’s family has lodged an official appeal against the case’s dismissal.
The footage emerged as protesters stormed the streets globally following the death of Black American George Floyd in the US after he was pinned down by American authorities despite him pleading suffocation.
The authenticity of Al-Taheri’s footage was confirmed by a spokeswoman for Ginso, the private firm managing the Tierras de Oria detention centre.
A week after the publication, the Spanish ombudsman called for the abolition of such procedures in juvenile detention facilities.
On June 18, the Almeria public prosecutor’s office asked for the case to be reopened, denouncing the protocol for using such restraint as “illegal.”
The victim’s case centres on “mechanical restraint,” in which authorities strap a person to a bed so they cannot hurt themselves or anyone else. However, such a mechanism can only be used if they are agitated, aggressive or violent.
PHOTO COURTESY: FLICKR