Press Release: Nationwide Demonstration in Memory of Oury Jalloh

The Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh is calling for a nationwide
demonstration in memory of Oury Jalloh. Said demonstration will be take
place on June 23, 2007, in Dessau. Meeting point is 1pm at the central
train station. The demonstration will begin one hour later and pass
through the center of the city as well as the monument in memory of
Alberto Adriano and the police station in the Wolfgangstrasse. Several
hundred protestors are expected.

Additionally, the Initative in Memory of Oury Jalloh will be holding a
press conference at 1.30 pm outside the central train station. The
demonstration is being organised in response to the alarming
developments of the court proceedings surrounding the death of the 21
year-old refugee from Sierra Leone/Guinea as well as diverse attacks
against the Initiative itself.

In light of these developments, the Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh
declares the following:

Those familiar with the brutality of the South African Apartheid regime
can only imagine this situation all too well: a human being is chained
at his hands and feet to fireproof mattress. Hours later, the man is
dead, his body fully charcoaled, the upper parts of his fingers
completely burned off. The official hypothesis: suicide.

On January 7, 2005, Oury Jalloh—a human being converted in life and
death into an eternal refugee—died under exactly these circumstances in
a police holding cell in Dessau, Germany. This happened on the very same
day that the police in Germany took away the life of another African:
Layé Konde, whom ten days before went into a coma after the police had
forced vomit-inducing chemicals down his throat, also perished on
January 7, 2005. Until today, not one single police officer has been
charged for these crimes.

From our point of view, the sequence of events only permits one
possible hypothesis: Oury Jalloh was murdered. Since organising
ourselves in the Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh we have
consistently insisted on the fact that the death of Oury Jalloh will
remain a murder so long as the responsible authorities do not thoroughly
clear up the events surrounding Oury’s death. From the very beginning,
the state prosecutor in Dessau only allowed one line of investigation,
i.e. suicide. Yet in spite of all facts widely made available to the
public, for instance that he was chained to a fireproof mattress, that a
lighter only appears in a second inventory of the items found in the
cell, that the broken nose was only discovered in the second,
independently financed autopsy, etc., etc., the police, the court and
even the media only allow one line of thought: Oury Jalloh killed himself.

The current court proceedings in the case of Oury Jalloh only serve to
confirm our concerns regarding the cover-up of the case which lasted
over two years. From the very first day, the trial has been
characterised by a penetrating non-remembrance and selective knowledge
of details on the part of the accused and witnesses alike—all of whom
are from the police. Moreover, although there is more than enough
evidence available to include a critical observation regarding the
racism surrounding Oury’s death and the entire process in and of itself,
until now the issue of racism has been completely excluded from all
investigations and subsequent proceedings. Instead, all efforts are
being made to “prove” that Oury Jalloh set himself on fire.

Rather than pursue the truth, the authorities are instead bent on
persecuting activists of the Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh,
against whom a series of investigations and preliminary proceedings are
being launched, among other excuses because of libel. This is because we
openly voice our opinion: it was murder. Activists are even persecuted
and threatened by the police within the courtroom itself. Further, at
one of the vigils organized outside of the court, an attack was once
again made against our freedom of speech in which a banner was
forcefully removed by the police. The reason? It contained an
illustration of a lighter and underneath it the words: OURY JALLOH WAS

In addition, Mouctar Bah, the former owner of a Telecafé in Dessau and
international representative of the Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh,
is once again receiving serious and diverse threats. Already on February
7, 2006, the city authorities closed down his store and expropriated his
commercial license. The justification? Mouctar allegedly had not done
enough to keep the so-called drug dealers off the street where his
Telecafé was located. Subsequently, he was forced to sell his shop to a
German, for whom he now works as an employee. Currently, the new owner
is being threatened with the closure of the Telecafé. The official
justification? Mouctar Bah is still working there.

As if the persecution Mouctar Bah has suffered from the authorities is
not enough, some take up where others leave off. In the night of May 14,
2007, unknown persons painted swastikas and nazi symbols on the monument
in memory of the deported Jews and the destruction of the synagogue as
well as Mouctar’s former Telecafé, among other sites. Mouctar has also
been physically attacked on more than one occassion. These attacks
against Mouctar and the Initiative must be seen within the context of
the recent racist attacks in Halberstadt, Cottbus and Bemberg and the
reaction of the local police to them.

In spite of all these very alarming developments, certain, organized
nazis are still allowed to attend the trial against the police in Dessau
as so-called “normal” observers and to write viciously racist reports.
In addition to all that mentioned above comes another shocking detail
concerning the Vice-Director of the police in Dessau, Hans-Christoph
Glombitza: three secret agents normally employed in investigating crimes
of right-wing extremism have sworn under oath that Mr. Glombitza, in his
function as acting director of the police, has actually tried to impede
the persecution of fascist crimes. They quote him as saying that, “one
doesn’t have to see everything,” and that, “there are ways to write
reports more slowly.” Regarding programmes of the federal government to
combat right-wing extremism, Glombitza is reported to have said
that,”they are only for show anyway.” Nevertheless, according to
Wolfgang Böhmer, Interior Minister of Sachsen-Anhalt, “The accusation
has been disproved. We now know that there were rather personal
conflicts behind all of this.”

And thus the vicious circle continues its barbaric cycle: cover-up,
fraud, deception, deceit, delay and then forgetting. In this sense, we
are by no means surprised by the fact that the demand of the family of
Oury Jalloh’s legal counsel to begin preliminary proceedings against Dr.
Blödau have been openly rejected by the state prosecutor. Dr, Blödau,
who became famous thanks to his extremely racist and vile comments about
Blacks, was the person who took blood from Oury and ordered him to be
chained at his hands and feet. He was also involved in declaring Mario
Bichtermann, the homeless man who died or was possibly murdered in the
same cell in November, 2002, fit for detention. The investigations
against those responsible for the death of Mario Bichtermann? Closed.
The case? Unresolved.

Several weeks ago, Rosa Amelia Plumelle-Uribe, one of the international
delegates invited by the Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh to assist
the trial, made the following comment: “The court faces the decision of
having to condemn and distance itself from the racist conduct of the
police or to excuse it and support it.” In our opinion, the same is true
for the media as well as the political parties and the society as a whole.

At the demonstration, the Initiative will also be honouring Layé Konde
(Sierra Leone), who—as mentioned above—was murdered on the same day as
Oury. Additionally, we will also be remembering Dominique Koumadio
(Congo), who was shot to death by the police on April 14, 2006 in the
city of Dortmund, John Achidi (Nigeria/Camerun), who also lost his life
after the police in Hamburg forced vomit-inducing chemicals down his
throat in 2001 as well as Osamuyia Aikpitanhi (Nigeria). Osamuyia died
on June 9, 2007 died during a deportation attempt in Spain while tied at
his hands and feet and a rag stuffed down his throat and covered over
with tape. According to the police, Osamuyia Aikpitanhi committed suicide.

We call on all people of solidarity to join us in Dessau and to
participate in our demonstration in memory of Oury Jalloh. Furthermore,
in light of the increasing attacks and attempts at criminalisation, we
call on the media to be aware and to cover the demonstration and
especially the further developments of the case.

For enquiries or interviews, please contact:

Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh
Spokesperson: Yufanyi Mbolo
Tel: +49-1708788124

download press release (pdf)

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