Failed asylum seeker dies in Dutch police custody

Arrest (Photo: Politie) policeArrest (Photo: Politie)

A failed asylum seeker died shortly after being arrested by the police in Maastricht on Tuesday. Limburg Police Chief Gery Veldhuis mentioned a chokehold and possible strangulation in a statement on Tuesday night, but denied that the police would do that, the Volkskrant reports.

The 35-year-old Macedonian man recently came to the Netherlands. On Monday the immigration police informed him that his asylum application was rejected and that he had to leave the European Union within 28 days, according to the newspaper. 

According to a statement on the police website, the man was arrested at the Brusselsepoort shopping center based on reports of a mentally disturbed man causing problems. 

The asylum seeker vehemently resisted against his arrest and there was a struggle. The police used pepper spray on the man and three bystanders helped to work the man to the ground. According to the newspaper, one of the bystanders saw the man's face turn blue during this time. The man became unwell and emergency services were called in.

Officers and paramedics tried to resuscitate the man, but to no avail. The man died at the scene. 

One of the bystanders who helped the police in the man's arrest was a police officer in civilian clothes, according to the police statement. On Tuesday night, the police could not say whether this officer was there by chance or was on duty. 

The Rijksrecherche, the department that handles internal investigations at the police, is investigating the asylum seeker's death. Photos and footage of the arrest will be part of the investigation.