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Family of Georgios Zantitios appeals against the dismissal of the case

Cause of death of Georgios Zantiotis still unclear
Wuppertal public prosecutor's office ends proceedings
Zantiotis family files appeal

Press Release - January 12, 2022

Pressemitteilung in deutscher Sprache

On 1 November 2021, Georgios Zantiotis dies in Wuppertal police custody. Shortly before, he had been arrested for as yet unexplained circumstances. His sister recorded a short part of the arrest on her mobile phone. Due to the numerous reactions to the published video, the Wuppertal public prosecutor, Mr Baumert, felt compelled to inform the public about Georgios Zantiotis' death a full six days after his death in police custody. He stated that he considered the reason for the death irrelevant: "It was a natural cause of death. I did not consider it newsworthy." (Internet blog “Berg und Tal” November 7, 2021). He makes this claim despite the fact that in the first week after Georgios Zantioti's death, the cause was neither due to a diagnosed nor documented natural illness. A natural death could thus not be stated.

Now after a little over two months, the files have been closed by the public prosecutor's office. Neither the cause of death nor the circumstances have been clearly clarified. Already at the beginning of December 2021, Chief Public Prosecutor Baumert prepared the decision publicly. At that time, neither the final result of the toxicological examination was available nor had the cause of death been clarified by the autopsy. Nevertheless, Chief Public Prosecutor Baumert diffusely connects two preliminary assumptions and serves prejudices to the newspaper WZ (WZ of 3.12.2021) and the public: "Before this interim result, it was already certain that the dead man's heart had a critical weight. Together with the substances now proven, it can be assumed that this combination was indeed the cause of death".

We note: To date, the cause of death has not been determined.

Furthermore, we still do not know what exactly happened to 25-year-old Georgios Zantiotis in custody. The statements of the police officers involved are almost identical. The suspicion arises that, as in other cases known to us, the statements and testimonies could have been coordinated.

We continue to ask ourselves: Why was Georgios Zantiotis restrained and why was there a violent attempt to draw his blood? What reason justified the taking of blood? Why was Georgios Zantiotis physically assaulted with disproportionate means?

We people with a migration background cannot prevent our trust in the police and law enforcement agencies from dwindling if people continue to lose their lives in police custody and both clarification and consequences fail to materialise. Our trust continues to dwindle when Mr. Reul, the Minister of the Interior of North Rhine Westfalia, keeps promising clarification, but this is not forthcoming or is prevented, as in the cases of Amed Ahmad or Mikael Haile. Data is manipulated, files disappear and there are no consequences even in clear cases.

We stand in solidarity with the Zantiotis family and together with them we will strive for an independent, scientifically sound investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Georgios Zantiotis.
Solidarity, cohesion, respect for life and truth guide us in our daily actions.

Araz Ardehali

On behalf of the Zantiotis family
the Amed Ahmad Initiative
and the CARAVAN for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants


KARAWANE für die Rechte der Flüchtlinge und MigrantInnen
Marienstraße 52, 42105 Wuppertal
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