• Germany's news in English
 

High court orders retrial in asylum-seeker death

Published: 07 Jan 2010 11:41 GMT+01:00

The presiding judges found that a December 2008 decision by the Dessau-Roßlau regional court to acquit a 47-year-old police officer of bodily harm with fatal consequences was flawed.

On January 7, 2005, the 23-year-old Oury Jalloh allegedly set fire to a mattress with a cigarette lighter while his hands and feet were shackled to a jail cell bed. State prosecutors said he could have been saved if police had acted fast enough to get him out of the cell.

The 47-year-old officer and a 44-year-old colleague said they had tied Jalloh's hands and feet because he had been violent after being arrested for drunkenly harassing women. When the fire alarm went off they allegedly turned it off several times before checking the jail cell.

But the chain of events could not have happened as it was presented during the trial, the court ruled on Thursday. Judges were unable to determine whether Jalloh set the fire himself, or how it would have been possible to do so, calling it a “substantial gap in the consideration of evidence.”

“There is a circumstance described that is difficult to comprehend,” said Ingeborg Tepperwien, one of the BGH judges who reviewed the case.

The Magdeburg regional court will now take up the case to determine whether the senior officer was at fault for Jalloh’s death, which sparked outrage among human rights activists in Germany.

Break the Silence, an initiative formed by a network of human rights groups to clarify Jalloh’s death, staged a demonstration on Thursday in Dessau for the fifth anniversary of his death.

“Our organisation believes believe that Oury Jalloh was murdered and we hope for the opportunity to prove this,” Osaren Igbinoba, an activist for one of the initiative’s founding groups, The VOICE Refugee Forum, told The Local on Thursday. “We will continue to build solidarity so that these people are convicted for what they did.”

The initiative also has plans for an independent commission to review the case, he said.

Director of the Initiative for Black Germans (ISD) Tahir Della, who has also supported the appeal of case to the high court, told The Local that the group believes judges made the correct decision.

“There were so many inconsistencies and retracted statements – which the judge himself also said during the trial,” Della said.

“It’s absolutely necessary to get the truth about what exactly happened that night. It’s clear that the officers at the scene did not do their duty to protect their prisoner – and there must be consequences.”

Related links:

DDP/Kristen Allen (kristen.allen@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

02:12 January 8, 2010 by CalBill
A scumbag abuser of women died by his own hand -- who cares?
03:52 January 8, 2010 by sc123
Why is it the cops fault if the idiot lit the mattress he was strapped to, amen to who cares!!:)
09:28 January 8, 2010 by auniquecorn
The cops most likely beat him to death, and lit the matress to cover it up.
14:27 January 8, 2010 by LancashireLad
That (auniquecorn #3) sounds most likely. How do you set light to anything if you are tied up?

It is irrelevant what he had done, however odious. He died in Police custody amid suspicious circumstances which were obviously not satisfactorily explained during the original trial.

This cannot be allowed to happen. We accuse people like Saddam and the Taliban of things like that, so how can we stand by and let it happen here?

I hope the judges of the original trial are also scrutinised if not put on trial themselves.
15:37 January 8, 2010 by WilliamDGoose
The man was acquitted and the German court system says that he must be retried again and again until he is convicted and jailed. What a bunch of Nazis. This is wrong. Hitler would be proud.
15:44 January 8, 2010 by LancashireLad
¦quot;substantial gap in the consideration of evidence.¦quot;

Allowing it to happen and brushing it under the carpet sounds more totalitarian than finding out what really happened. Hitler would probably have been proud of the outcome of the original trial.
18:58 January 8, 2010 by locally
To the Cops,

Whether you are Black or White,from the poorest or the richest part of the World,we are all the same(Human).

But above all,let us never forget that God is looking down on us,and he's gonna judge us all by what we did here on Earth.

Our lies to cover the wrongs we have done against someone won't be enough to spare us from the consequences of our sins.

God is watching...
19:21 January 8, 2010 by allhappy
calbill and sc123,you two are quite unreasonable mammals.How in your brainless manners do you accept the fact that a chained Guy burnt himself(For the German cops to put male in prison with or without chain,they normally remove the clothes except the underwear(s)).

Maybe the cops were miles away in their own station to rescue a guy burning in pain,agony,and to death in the same police station.

Could you imagine how that hurts to Die a slow and painful Death.

Imagine someone Dear to you in such condition.

Thats probably the same like Steve Biko.
Today's headlines
Migrant wounded in German police shooting
Photo: DPA

Migrant wounded in German police shooting

A Guinean migrant who caused a brawl in a home for asylum seekers in Germany was shot and seriously wounded by police, local media reported. READ  

July asylum applications hit 'all-time record'
An asylum seeker reception centre in Trier. Photo: DPA

July asylum applications hit 'all-time record'

More people applied for asylum in Germany in July than in any previous month on record, the Ministry for Immigration and Refugees announced on Friday. READ  

This Week in History
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after WWII
Germans fleeing from eastern Europe after the Second World War. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The 1,000s of Germans massacred after WWII

Seventy years ago on Friday, a munitions depot exploded in the Czechoslovakian town of Ústí nad Labem. For the thousands of Sudeten Germans who lived in the town, the event was a death sentence. READ  

Minister seeks to rid laws of 'Nazi language'
In the center, Nazi lawyer Roland Freisler, who wrote laws that are partially still in existence today. Photo: German Federal Archive / Wikimedia Commons.

Minister seeks to rid laws of 'Nazi language'

Germany has made great efforts to purge legal system of remnants of Adolf Hitler's regime, but some laws still bear traces of the Nazi past. The Justice Minister wants to change this. READ  

Treason investigation of Netzpolitik halted
Netzpolitik published documents outlining the internal spy agency BfV's spy programmes and budget. Photo: DPA

Treason investigation of Netzpolitik halted

Update: Federal prosecutors announced on Friday they are suspending investigations of treason against 'digital rights' website Netzpolitik for 'the greater good' of upholding freedom of the press. READ  

Newborn baby found in Munich airport toilets
Munich Airport. Photo: DPA

Newborn baby found in Munich airport toilets

A newborn baby was found in a toilet in Munich airport on Thursday. Police so far have no clue as to who or where the mother is. READ  

Brit arrested in Munich for meth smuggling
Photo: BVZ/Zoll

Brit arrested in Munich for meth smuggling

A 50-year-old British woman is being held in custody in Munich on suspicion of attempting to smuggle two kilos of crystal meth out of Munich airport disguised as sweets. READ  

Start-up helps new Berliners slash red tape
Hate waiting in line at the Bürgeramt? There's a company that lets you pay to get the perfect appointment. Photo: DPA.

Start-up helps new Berliners slash red tape

Why waste time jumping through the hoops of German bureaucracy when you can pay someone else to take the hassle off your hands? A new Berlin company is offering to do just that - and it's got city officials fuming in the process. READ  

Michael Jackson shrine may have to beat it
A fan visits the makeshift Michael Jackson memorial in Munich. Photo: DPA.

Michael Jackson shrine may have to beat it

A memorial set up in Germany by some of Michael Jackson's most ardent fans the day after his sudden 2009 death has come under threat in a strangely emotional turf war. READ  

Ai Weiwei in Germany as UK slammed over visa
Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei arrived at Munich airport on Thursday, greeted by his son and son's mother, filmmaker Wang Fen. Photo: DPA.

Ai Weiwei in Germany as UK slammed over visa

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei arrived in Munich on Thursday on his first overseas trip since he was arrested nearly four years ago, after Britain denied him a six-month visa because he did not declare a supposed "criminal conviction" on his application. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Society
In North Germany, money sometimes DOES grow on trees
National
Hero mechanics stop Bavaria shooting spree
International
Denmark says that border controls are coming
National
Did hackers take control of German missile battery?
Politics
Munich gives gay pride green light
Business & Money
Berlin rent controls hit prices hard
National
Fighting to breastfeed in public without shame
Society
Ice cream for dogs 'gobbled up in one gulp'
Education
Are hotpants a feminist issue?
Rhineland
Lion cub reunited with mother
National
How the heatwave is cracking Germany's Autobahns
International
Why the French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
Sponsored Article
Crans-Montana: International expat hub
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,196
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd