Refugee carer blinded in one eye by knife attack
June 7, 2017
An asylum seeker wounded a carer gravely with a so-called gertel [billhook]. Now the African woman is charged with attempted murder.
It is hard to imagine what the 28-year-old refugee carer went through. A resident of the transition centre for asylum seekers in Embrach struck the head and upper body of the carer about twenty times with a so-called gertel, a machete-like garden knife, on November 18, 2015. The young Swiss woman suffered injuries to her eyes and has been completely blinded in one eye. The reason for the attack: the asylum seeker was supposed to leave the transition centre and move to a different centre in the canton.
The accused is a 36-year-old woman from Ivory Coast. As an undocumented immigrant, she applied at the Bund in June 2013 for asylum, which was denied. She was expected to leave Switzerland in November 2014, but resisted departure repeatedly. At the time of the deed, she was living in the Embrach transition centre. She was supposed to move to the Adliswil emergency shelter for families and solitary women. The African refused, in spite of daily talks with the team of carers.
On noon of November 18, 2015, the carer went to see the African in her room. She did not make a move to pack her belongings, but said that her stomach hurt and that she was unable to leave. When the carer offered to help her pack, the accused suddenly walked to the door and locked it. According to the bill of indictment, she then got a gertel with a 30 cm long, curved, and very sharp blade from the closet.
She walked towards the carer and hit her head several times. The woman collapsed and fell to the ground. “At that point, the accused lunged at the victim and chopped relentlessly and with great force about twenty times on the head, upper body, and extremities of the victim,” the bill of indictment says. The victim suffered grave injuries to head and upper body. Her left eye is completely blind. Her face is badly disfigured from the scars, and she lost three teeth.
“Je vais mourir à la prison”
Initially, the victim tried to defend herself, but then grew weak. When the carer pretended to be dead, the perpetrator stopped. She locked the room door [sic; the contradiction of earlier statement is in the original] and moved the freezer in front of the door. In the meantime, the carer tried to get her mobile phone out of her pocket and call for help. When the asylum seeker noticed, she wrestled the phone from her. Then she poured methylated spirits over the body of the gravely injured woman who was still lying on the floor. Thereupon, the perpetrator changed her blood soaked clothes, put on a wig, and fled out of the window with the words “Je vais mourir à la prison” (I will die in prison). The canton police were able to arrest the woman the same evening in Kloten.
Prosecution demands 18 years
Charges for attempted murder were pressed against the woman in mid-May at the Bülach district court. A trial date is yet not set. Prosecutor Adrian Kaegi demands a prison term of 18 years and ambulatory psychiatric treatment. “The accused acted particularly ruthlessly; the attack is equivalent to a massacre,” he writes in the bill of indictment. Moreover, the accused intended to burn the defenseless victim alive. She acted out of malice, lured the victim into a trap, and locked the room.