U.S. rights advocacy group urges federal probe into death of Russian immigrant detainee

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-26 18:22:03|Editor: xuxin
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SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- A grassroots rights advocacy group based in the U.S. state of Washington on Sunday called for a probe into the death of a Russia immigrant detained in a detention center in Tacoma city.

Mora Villalpando, a leader of the Northwest Detention Center Resistance group, said that her organization wants state and Tacoma officials to open an investigation into the death of Amar Mergensana, who had been kept captive in a facility in Tacoma since he arrived in the United States last December.

Mergensana's death was confirmed Sunday by the state's Pierce County Medical Examiner office, and an examination is scheduled for Monday, the Tacoma-based public radio station KNKX reported.

The 40-year-old Russian immigrant died after he staged an 86-day hunger strike to protest conditions at a privately-run detention facility licensed by Tacoma while he was put on a deportation list. The center operates under a contract with the U.S. immigration and border control authorities.

Villalpando and other immigration advocates blamed the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Northwest Detention Center for Mergensana's death.

Villalpando said Mergensana was kept in solitary confinement at the detention center rather than at a medical facility where he could have been better monitored and observed.

Mergensana is the second detainee to have died in the 14-year history of the Northwest Detention Center, one of the largest facilities in the United States for people facing deportation.

Villalpando said the group is planning a vigil for Mergensana at the detention center on Monday.