No compensation for stillbirth of Syrian deportee 

The Syrian woman (artists' impression here during border guard trial) has been struggling for years to get compensation. © Keystone / Linda Graedel

A Syrian woman who suffered a stillbirth on deportation from Switzerland will not receive compensation, authorities have decided. But her lawyer is appealing, the Swiss public broadcaster SRF reports. 

This content was published on January 19, 2021 - 16:49

This Federal Department of Finance decision not to compensate comes despite the fact that the border guard responsible for the deportation more than six years ago was convicted of bodily harm and failure to comply with official regulations. 

The border guard failed to organise medical help as the woman was being deported in the summer of 2014, even though the heavily pregnant Syrian woman complained of pain. She was taken back with other refugees by train from the Swiss border town of Brig to Domodossola in Italy, where she then had a stillbirth in hospital. 

The medical report could not conclusively clarify whether the unborn child died before the repatriation or only during or shortly afterwards. The Federal Department of Finance therefore deemed that although the border guard was convicted of bodily harm, he could not be held responsible for the death of the baby. 

The Syrian refugee family concerned and their Zurich lawyer Dina Raewel find this incomprehensible, said the Swiss public broadcaster on Tuesday. The Federal Customs Administration had reportedly stated in an internal report that compensation of up to CHF10,000 ($11,258) would have been justified.  

Raewel says she will appeal to the Federal Administrative Court in St. Gallen. For this reason, the Federal Department of Finance did not want to comment on the current ruling. 

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