Death in Custody: 13 years after Oury Jalloh burned to death in a police cell in Germany the murder remains unsolved
A large demonstration in Dessau, Germany on Sunday, January 7th will demand justice for Oury Jalloh, a Sierra Leonean asylum seeker, who died 13 years ago in custody. The demonstration also brings attention to the structural problem of racial profiling in Germany. Take action and sign the petition to demand justice for Oury Jalloh.
Sunday, January 7th will mark the 13th anniversary of the death of Sierra Leonean asylum seeker Oury Jalloh. Jalloh was a 37 years old father who in 2005 burned to death in a police holding cell in Dessau, Germany.
The circumstances of Oury Jalloh’s death have been subject to several investigations. According to the official account, Jalloh’s hands and feet were tied to the wall and floor by law-enforcement officers, when he set fire to the fireproof mattress he was lying on. These accounts have been refuted by multiple independent arson investigations paid for by the Oury Jalloh Initiative. Outcomes indicated that Jalloh was unconscious or already dead at the time the fire in the cell broke out. Further the results indicated that fire accelerant had been used on Jalloh. Upon growing pressure the prosecution office ordered another arson investigation, coming to the same conclusions. The investigation also addresses strong suspicion of third party (potentially police) involvement in Jalloh’s death. In light of these findings of the prosecutor’s office the case was subsequently closed. These events indicate a cover-up by the police and the prosecutor, but also highlight the issue of institutional racism in Germany.
In November 2017 Jalloh’s close friend Mouctar Bah from the Initiative in Remembrance of Oury Jalloh initiated a petition. It reached more than 102.000 signatures within a month. The main demand is the reopening if the case and a fair and unbiased trial. It can still be signed here.
Cases of Police brutality and racial profiling are severely affecting People of African descent in all parts of Europe. Sarah Reed, Mark Duggan (UK), Oury Jalloh and Mariam Saar (Germany), Mitch Henriquez (Netherlands) and Amadou Koumé or Lamine Dieng (France) are a few well-known examples of African descendants who all have died at the hands of the police.
We, the European Network of People of African Descent (ENPAD), are calling upon the attorney-generalship in Naumburg to re-open the case of Oury Jalloh with adequate means for a fair and independent investigation into his death.
ADEFRA Grassroots e.v., Germany