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Prisoner died from 'fatal cocaine overdose'

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Prisoner died from 'fatal cocaine overdose'
Vienna's Josefstadt prison. Photo: Plani/Wikimedia
12:46 CEST+02:00
A Nigerian man who died in Vienna's Josefstadt prison became ill after a package of cocaine that he had swallowed burst inside him, according to a report from Falter magazine. Previously, there had been allegations that he died from injuries sustained after police beat him up.

Friends of the 27-year-old Nigerian man said they believed he had been badly treated during his arrest, and that his body was covered with bruises. His Austrian girlfriend and mother of his 11-month-old daughter said that she was shocked when she saw his face in the coroner's office.

Rumours that he had died after being abused in police custody spread via social media but Falter reports that they cannot be confirmed.

The 27-year-old was arrested in late June in Meidling. Police said that they saw him making swallowing motions during his arrest and suspected that he was a so-called “body packer” and had concealed packets of drugs in his stomach.

He was put in a special prison cell with a video camera monitor. Prison officials said that during the night he banged his head and threw his body against the door - which they said was the reason he was so bruised. During the night he became ill and was taken to hospital, where he died.

The coroner has not yet released a verdict on the cause of death but Falter reports that burst packets of cocaine were found in the man's body. The most frequent cause of death among body packers is acute drug intoxication due to a package rupturing within the gastrointestinal tract.

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