Border guard convicted of failing to help pregnant refugee in distress

The Local

7 December 2017

A border guard in Switzerland has been convicted of charges relating to the stillbirth of a baby born to a refugee who was sent back to Italy.


A military court on Wednesday convicted the guard of causing bodily harm through negligence, attempting to abort a pregnancy and repeatedly failing in his duties, reported news agency ATS.

The guard received a six month prison sentence and a fine, both suspended.

The case dates back to July 2014 when a family of Syrian refugees were attempting to travel to France from Italy on a train through Switzerland.

Among the group was a 22-year-old woman who was seven months pregnant.

After being stopped at a Franco-Swiss border point, they were loaded into buses by border guards and ordered back to Italy. On the return journey, the woman began to bleed, but despite repeated calls for help, Swiss authorities did not respond, according to her husband.

He claimed they and their two-year-old son were then detained in a “cell” at Brig station for four hours with no medical assistance, Swiss media reported at the time.

They were subsequently put on a train from Brig to the Italian border town of Domodossola, where the woman was hospitalized, but her baby was later stillborn.

The prosecution demanded a prison sentence of up to seven years for the border guard, saying he “lacked all humanity”.


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