[ 19. Mar 2007 ]

Call for observation of the Oury Jalloh Court Case

break the silence!

Come to Dessau on March 27th - 30th and April 19th-20th of 2007. Observe the trial and participate in the permanent vigils, events and rallies during this time.


Break the silence!

On the 7th of January, 2005, Oury Jalloh agonizingly burned to death---tied at his hands and feet in Cell Number 5 in Dessau. He was a 21 year-old refugee from Sierra Leone. The smoke and fire alarm were simply ignored by the supervising police officer; the communication system connected directly to the cell was turned off, supposedly because the police officers felt bothered by the "burbling noises" while they were talking on the telephone. Since his death to this day, the State Prosecutor, responsible for carrying out the investigations, has exclusively promoted the theory that Oury Jalloh committed suicide.

Nevertheless, there are simply too many contradictions in their theory: Why does a lighter first appear in a second inventory taken of the items found in the cell? How did a lighter enter into the cell when two police officers carried out a body search of Oury Jalloh? How do they explain the broken nasal bone and the injuries to the middle ear as found in the second autopsy organized by the Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh? What role did the racist attitude of Dessau's police play, which was recorded on tape before and during the fire and made partially public?

On the basis of the ascertainable facts regarding the death of Oury Jalloh and until it is proved otherwise we will continue to believe and make our opinion known: Oury Jalloh was murdered.

That all of these contradictions have even been made known to a wider public has only been possible thanks to the mobilization and engagement of friends and acquaintances of Oury Jalloh as well as diverse migrant, refugee and anti-racist organizations, who in spite of the attempts at criminalization and the persecution of several activists have never given up in fighting for an exhaustive clarification of the circumstances surrounding the death of Oury Jalloh as well as justice and reparations. All of these groups have come together to form the Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh.

Finally, after two years of mobilization and public campaigning of the Initiative, court proceedings are to be held in March against two of the police involved in the crime. Although we find this to be an important step in the direction of shedding light on the death of Oury Jalloh, we have serious doubt as to whether the proceedings will bring either justice or an exhaustive clarification of the circumstances.

Since Oury's murder, neither the court nor the State Prosecutor has shown interest in discovering the truth behind the events in Dessau. Rather, the case has been plagued by two years of impediments, cover-up and the denial to cooperate with the lawyers of Oury's parents. Only for the recognition of the mother and father as co-plaintiffs in the case did the court need 17 and 15 months to come to a decision, respectively. In addition, the State Prosecutor refused to allow an x-ray of Oury Jalloh's corpse to be carried out with the justification that it simply wasn't necessary. The second autopsy, carried out independently in the name of the Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh, demonstrated then demonstrated the serious injuries to Oury's nose and middle ear.

But Oury Jalloh was not alone. Dominique Koumadio, for example, was shot and killed by the police on the 14th of April, 2006. The General Public Prosecutor has already absolved the police of any crime. The justification? Self-defense. Indeed, crimes by the police enjoy almost complete impunity, especially when those crimes are committed against refugees and migrants. Indeed, German police abuse refugees and migrants on a daily basis, and physical mistreatment is widespread, though punishment is seldom—if it even comes that far. In general, it is fair to say that the police, just as society, is dominated by a racist, inhumane consensus that sees refugees and migrants in general as sub-humans.

In general, Europe has made it known and enforced the fact that refugees and migrants, but especially Blacks, are not welcome here. Alone in 2006 more than 7,000 HUMAN BEINGS were forced into their death by a system which has systematically and eternally robbed them of their most basic right: the right to life. Who will pay the price for these murders? Who can give their families and friends back their loved ones?

These are just some of the reasons why we totally distrust the German legal system.

It is our responsibility to Oury, his family and all victims and survivors of racist police violence and even murder to come together and demonstrate to the court, to the society and to the world that we will not stand silently by while they continue their crimes in impunity. If we do not come together to stop this now, how many will follow? Who will be next?

A wide public and political mobilization to accompany the trial and assist the proceedings as independent observers is of extreme importance. We therefore call on all progressive sectors and people of solidarity to join us in Dessau for the entire length of the court proceedings. Vigils, events and rallies will be organized during the whole duration of the events.

Come to Dessau on March 27th-30th and April 19th-20th. Observe the trial and participate in the permanent vigils, events and rallies during this time.

The Court address:
Landgericht Dessau, Willy-Lohmann-Str. 29, 06844 Dessau

Stay informed at:
Info-phone at: 0049-(0)176-65977644

Donations can be made to: Antirassistische Initiative / Bank für Sozialwirtschaft / Konto-Nr.: 3039600 / BLZ: 100 205 00 / Stichwort: Dessau.