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Pregnant refugee who lost baby 'mistreated'

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Pregnant refugee who lost baby 'mistreated'
The family were ordered to return to Domodossola. Photo: Phil Richards
14:42 CEST+02:00
Swiss authorities are being investigated for the alleged mistreatment of a pregnant Syrian refugee passing through Switzerland whose baby was subsequently stillborn.

The 22-year-old woman, who was seven months pregnant, was travelling with her husband and other Syrian refugees on a train from Milan to Paris, when they were ordered to return to Italy by Swiss border guards, reported broadcaster SRF during its 10vor10 programme on Wednesday.

On the return journey, the woman began to bleed, but despite repeated calls for help, Swiss authorities did not respond, her husband told the programme.

The man claimed the couple and their two-year-old son were then detained in a “cell” at Brig station for four hours with no medical assistance, according to Swiss media.

When the man asked repeatedly for help he was told to “shut up”.

They were subsequently sent back to the Italian border town of Domodossola, where they had started their journey.

Once there, the woman was hospitalized, but her baby was later stillborn.

“I thought that Switzerland was a civilized country,” the man told newspaper 20 Minutes.

“We were fleeing death and war; we were just looking for hospitality. But my rights have been trampled on, as well as the rights of my wife and this little girl who couldn’t be born.”

Talking to SRF an Italian doctor criticized the Swiss authorities.

“If the woman had received help in Switzerland this tragedy could have been avoided,” he said.

Swiss border guards boss Jürg Noth has opened an investigation into the incident, saying that during their return journey from Vallorbe to Domodossola the refugees were the responsibility of Swiss authorities.

The exact involvement of Swiss officials in the incident should be clarified immediately, he added.

Lawyers for the family are taking legal advice, reports 20 Minutes, and hope to approach the European Court of Human Rights.

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