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Officer fined for asylum seeker death in jail
Photo: DPA

Officer fined for asylum seeker death in jail

Published: 13 Dec 2012 17:20 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Dec 2012 17:20 GMT+01:00

A police officer was fined €10,800 on Thursday for his role in the death of asylum seeker Oury Jalloh, who died in police custody in a cell in Dessau eight years ago in circumstances which have never been properly explained.

The policeman, named only as Andreas S., was the supervising officer on duty on January 7, 2005 when 21-year Jalloh, an asylum seeker from Sierra Leone, burned to death in his cell. The mattress to which he was shackled was set on fire with a cigarette lighter.

After a trial lasting nearly two years, the regional court in Magdeburg found Andreas S. guilty of negligent homicide by omission to act, as the senior officer failed to check on Jalloh even after repeated fire alarms went off.

The court heard how police officers even switched the alarm off several times before finally checking the jail cell and discovered Jalloh's body.

Andreas S. had failed in his duty to look in the cell and should have reacted immediately to the fire alarm, said chief state prosecutor Christian Preissner, reported the Der Spiegel magazine on Thursday.

The officer received a fine of €10,800, nearly twice the amount demanded by the public prosecutor. Earlier charges of bodily harm with fatal consequences were dropped during the course of the trial due to a lack of evidence.

Along with a fellow policeman, Andreas S. had already been acquitted of negligent manslaughter of Jalloh in 2008 by the Dessau-Roßlau regional court. He was charged again when the case was re-opened in January 2011 after the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) said the initial verdict had been flawed.

The chain of events could not have happened as was presented during the trial, the court ruled. 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.”

The pair said they had tied Jalloh's hands and feet because he had been violent after being arrested for harassing two women while under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

An exact sequence of events after Jalloh's arrest has not yet come to light. In a separate civil case brought against Andreas S., Jalloh's mother and brother claimed the victim must have already been unconscious when the fire broke out, because they said he could not have physically lit the fire when shackled by his hands and feet.

But the state prosecutor saw no evidence for this theory and rejected the plaintiff's application for further clarification from fire experts.

Although he denied any wrongdoing in what the defence described as a chain of unfortunate events, Andreas S. said he still deeply regretted not having been able to save Jalloh, reported the website of Der Spiegel magazine.

As the verdict was read out, human rights activists stood outside the court holding placards reading, “It was murder!”

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:08 December 14, 2012 by raandy
His hands and feet were tied to the ,I assume four corners of the bed by officers and then his matteres catches on fire with a lighter and no one is doing jail time?

The officers that turned off the alarm , should also be fined and sent down the road to the unemployment office.

They managed to put in the article that he was being disorderly and ((harassing two women,)) that surely paints him as a problem,and an undesirable, could have just stated he was out of control from alcohol and substance abuse and let the jury and judge decide his fate.

Every person that was in contact with this asylum seeker should no longer be employed by any correctional facility.

If the detainee did not light the mattress on fire then someone intentionally did.

but

I am sure as is often the case with these articles, there is a lot more here than is being printed.
12:39 December 14, 2012 by blackboot11
an Interesting imbalance of information in the press:

this article is about a person that was accused, found guilty and given a penalty for his deeds and his full name and face have been shielded/hidden from the viewers... because he is white and german? While in a recent article of the 'Bonn Bomber' gives full names and full face fotos of people of interest in this case. because they are not germans and they are not aryan... Some thing just don't ever change here in the DE...
18:16 December 14, 2012 by DULS
@blackboot11

dude honestly, come on !!! I found your comment and more your reasoning very cheap indeed.
19:17 December 14, 2012 by Minitaff
@ blackboot11

man, you pull that race card!! He wouldn't be dead if he was law abiding! oh don't tell me, he was arrested because he was a black african.........i think i will pull the race card now ....YOU are a racist!!!
13:32 December 18, 2012 by George Palmer
raandy-they don't have beds in cells so stop being inflamatory (pardon the pun). Every time a black person dies in custody the race card is thrown in and hysteria results. Even if the officers had shown the utmost professionalism and the prisoner died of natural causes there would be allegations of murder and malpractise. The police in this case acted negligently, but they cannot win in any case involving coloured people. Race has become a lucrative industry for lawyers, relatives, activists and idiots alike.
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