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One, Two or No Lighter at All? Devious Constructions - Made in Germany

A statement of the ‘Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh’.

Berlin, November 1, 2007

To the national and international public:

Since the end of March 2007 a trial has been held at the Landgericht (District Court) in Dessau. Accused are two policemen of the city of Dessau. The main accused, Andreas Schubert, is blamed for "bodily injury resulting to death". The second accused, Hans- Jürgen März, is blamed for "manslaughter" in the case of the burning to death of Oury Jalloh. On 9th October 2007, the 27th day of the trial, Peter K., a member of the staff of the Landeskriminalamt (Department of Criminal Investigations) of Sachsen-Anhalt testified before the court. The fire expert testified that he was present as expert in the "discovery" of the lighter. His testimony strengthens the worst fears. Also on the 25th of October, the 28th day of trial, it became known that there had been a video tape of the scene of the crime which has since disappeared.

Here is the statement of the “Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh”:

For us who have been following the case of Oury Jalloh critically from the very beginning, the latest developments in this trial at the Landgericht (District Court) in Dessau against the two policemen is by no means surprising.
Since the very beginning of the trial in March 2007, we have been witnesses to extremely absurd and alarming concealment tactics on the part of the Dessau police. These tactics are the continuation of camouflaging and obstructionism by the investigating authorities and the state prosecution which already started long before the trial.
During the trial itself, we have experienced on all levels and almost without any exception that the testifying police officers tell everything possible - but not the truth.
But now, the truth and the cover-up of an inexcusable crime slowly comes to light. Because now, the whole construction on which the accusations were based start to break apart. Beside the fact that no one can explain how the lighter, which appeared later on the list of evidence, could have come into the cell, we wonder whether there had been a lighter at all with which Oury Jalloh could have ignited himself; or whether there had been two different lighters or whether one of those lighters had been declared as evidence afterwards in order to distract from the real incidents.

On 9th October, 2007, Peter K., member of the staff of the Landeskriminalamt in Sachsen-Anhalt was heard. Mr. K. works for the LKA as an expert for fire and explosions in Magdeburg and has 27 years of working experience.
Following the testimony of officer K., on January the 10th the policewoman Gisela P. brought him a single bag from about a dozen bags in his laboratory, with remains from the cell in which Oury Jalloh burned to death.
She demanded him to identify the pieces of evidence with her. This procedure, is for us hard to understand since people who work in a laboratory identify things daily and usually they do this in absence of people who do not work in the laboratory.
Why did Gisela P. bring this bag of all bags? As she emptied the content of the bag on the table, a charred lighter appeared which had not been found until then. After this detection Gisela P. phoned her chief and told him: "We've got something here".
So, some days later a lighter appeared on a second list of evidence on which all things that had been found in the cell are listed, and which was not found on the first list of evidence.

After listing the content of the bag Peter K. added the lighter in handwriting to the list of evidence. This handwritten note was not found in the protocol in the files.
In addition to that the witness Peter K. neither knows what was labelled on the unsealable bag nor why this bag had been brought to him. Furthermore, he does not know the name of the chief fire expert and his name does not even appear anywhere in the files of the trial.
The testimony of Mr K. contradicts the that of officer H. from the State office of criminal investigation of lower Saxony (Landeskriminalamt Niedersachsen). Mr. H. had inspected the cell on 7th January and collected evidence. He wrote in his report which carried the date of the 25th February, 2005 and also in the files that, there was an area beneath Oury Jalloh’s back that was less burnt than the rest of his body.

There he found a whole "block" in which rests of the brown corduroys, the T-shirt and the mattress were located. This block was securely preserved as evidence in its entity. In his report describing the secured "block" a lighter which was not severely damaged by the fire was also mentioned. The testimony of Mr. H. was based on his inspection of the cell made on the same day of the fire.
During the interrogation of Mr. K. on 9th October, he was asked if the lighter which had been brought to him in the plastic bag by Gisela P. and which he added to the list of evidence could be the same one that had been described by Mr H. in his report. Mister K. answered that this could not possibly be the same lighter since the lighter (described in mister H.’s report), which was not severely affected by the fire while the other one inspected by him and Gisela P. was totally charred. When asked by the lawyers of the joint plaintiff if the description in the case file of the photo of the lighter was not utter nonsense, the fire expert answered, "Yes, it is nonsense".

How many lighters existed in the cell? One was later found and inspected but not in the cell; another one had been found just after the fire beneath Oury Jalloh's back? How is it possible that the lighter with which Oury Jalloh allegedly set himself on fire was located underneath his back while both of his hands were fixed? Which lighter was it that was brought by Gisela P. and inspected by mister K. on the 10th of January? Why did officers not find a lighter when they collected evidence the first time? Where's the "block" with the not severely damaged parts of the trousers, the T-shirt, the mattress and the lighter? And why is it that the taking of evidence in this case was altogether so carelessly carried out? There exists no sketches describing the places in the cell where the pieces of evidence had been found.

Where there one, two or no lighter at all? Lighters made in Germany, by one of the most efficient police forces on earth to hide the most horrendous crimes?

Concerning the fireproof mattress which had been allegedly ignited by Oury Jalloh Mr. K. said: "To get the mattress ignited I muss use a fire accelerant or ignite the tissue from the inside". We know from the testimony of the cleaner who had cleaned the whole cell the same day that the mattress did not show any sign of damage.

We must not forget that, one month after it was published that Oury Jalloh had been fixed on an fireproof mattress the authorities and the prosecution had already put up the thesis - which until now has been neither questioned nor changed - that Oury Jalloh ignited himself with this fictive lighter.
The broken nose bone which had allegedly not been recognized (although they claim that Oury hit the wall with his face several times), the damage in his middle ear - should we forget and ignore all these just because neither the prosecution nor the court is willing to take these clear facts into consideration? Is it only important for the state prosecutor to find out whether the two accused had enough time to save Oury Jalloh's life after the burst of flames?

From the day Oury Jalloh was murdered until today, we have always strongly and vehemently condemned this crime and its cover-up. As a result of that, we have been persecuted and segregated. The cry to "Break the silence" could hardly find an echo in a society that is used to passivity and complicity.
Although in the beginning even the international press reported on this case, there were almost no reports on it in the last months. Meanwhile, the persecution of the initiative "in memory of Oury Jalloh" has been continued. Above all, the legal representative of the Jalloh family and founder of the initiative "in memory of Oury Jalloh" is still not allowed to get back his cybercafé in of Dessau or his business license, which we understand to have been revoked as punishment for his activities.

The trial is supposed to last at least until February next year; that would be more than three years after the murder of Oury Jalloh. Those who had their doubts should have realized by now that the sentences against both accused (and many more that haven't been charged yet) should be far more severe than it will be as if two policemen only acted carelessly. The construction of the suicide now appears to be what it always used to be: a horrendous lie! It is more than clear that this time there must be political as well as juridical consequences—and not only in Dessau!

Some weeks ago judge Steinhoff banged his fist on the table in court, referring to the cover-up and dishonesty, proclaiming that Germany is not a Banana Republic. Also some weeks ago, the now retired vice- director of the police administration, Hans- Christoph Glombitza, said referring to the prosecution of rightwing- motivated crimes that one should not see everything, since the programs of the government against right-wing extremists were just "for the art galleries". In the meantime, the abuse of the rights and persecution of refugees and migrants continue in a violent way in Germany and Europe.

Time and time again, we continuously experience how the victim is made the criminal. In the case of Oury Jalloh, the burnt victim is made an arsonist. We can see how through collective disrespect for human dignity, crimes are committed and justified. On the one hand the historical background of the two accused policemen is of no interest for judge Steinhoff but on the other hand he uses the life of Oury Jalloh to give a false representation of the dead. Concretely, the background investigation is not based on the fact why Oury Jalloh had lost his life three times, how he loved his family, how he fought for the right to be with his child born in Germany but only on which problems he had with drugs and violence. Through this, a human whose rights to live had been robbed here in Germany is portrayed as a criminal.

Nevertheless there has to be an end and that can only happen if people who live here stand up, open their mouths and break the silence. Everybody is being asked to challenge the impunity of the police not just in the case of Oury Jalloh but also other victims in Germany and elsewhere, demanded to make research for information and to point out the despicable system which generates such crimes daily. We call on all to mobilize so as to start a trial in all the other cases like the one of Dominique Koumadio from Dortmund (shot and killed at close range by the police) and John Achidi from Hamburg (drugged to death by the police) to name only two of many. We call for solidarity to create enough pressure so that in case of infringement of rights by the police, independent commissions and organisations of the victims can verify the investigations, making it possible to start a trial.


Break the Silence!

Clarification! Jusitce! Compensation!

Initiative in memory of Oury Jalloh

For more information we're at your disposal all the time.

Press spokesman of the initiative:

Cornelius Yufanyi Mbolo
Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh

Mumia Abu-Jamal on Oury Jalloh
Mumia Abu-Jamal über Oury Jalloh (Deutsche Übersetzung)
'I spend my days preparing for life, not for death'

Notice 1:
We need help for the translation into the following languages: French and Spanish. If someone is able to translate the statement into the above mentioned languages or others, please contact:

Notice 2:
The next court proceedings in Dessau will take place from the 13th to 15th November, 2007. The official plans for these days are: All pieces of evidence collected from the cell on January 7, 2005, which has not yet disappeared is going to be seen in court presumably on 13th November. On 14th November it's expected that the supervising police officer who relieved the main accused, Andreas Schubert, on the day of Oury’s death, will be called to testify.On November 15th, the fire expert who allegedly found the lighter under Oury Jalloh's back is supposed to testify.

There will be a collective trip from Berlin to Dessau. It is necessary that people from other cities and towns also mobilize.

We also want to make known that the third part of the newspaper "Break the Silence" is ready to be picked up from several places amongst others in Berlin, Hamburg, Dortmund, Wuppertal and Bremen. If you want a newspaper, please contact the initiative or the local groups of the Caravan for the rights of refugees and migrants.
Collective trips organization by people in Berlin ( contact: Chamberlin 0176/64124793).
Places to sleep are also available.

Local group: 

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