Statement of the International Independent Commission on the Death of Oury Jalloh – on the October 2021 Fire Experiment Berlin, 3 November 2021

The Commission thanks to Oury Jalloh’s family members, the Initiative in Remembrance of Oury Jalloh, filmmakers, fire experts and technicians for providing us with a deeply insightful perspective on the events that transpired on the 7th of January 2005 in the Police Station in Dessau. The video installation we have seen have made us witnesses to the events in a way that has until now not been possible

This new fire experiment has reproduced the physical dimensions and characteristics of Cell Nr. 5 to a high degree of accuracy. The evaluation of the experiment by fire expert Ian Peck suggests that the images of 2005 fire damage, including the damage to Mr Jalloh’s body, the mattress and walls of Cell Nr. 5, strongly resemble the images produced in this new fire experiment completed last month. Mr. Peck analysed smoke staining on the walls and carefully considered the materials used to recreate the physical space, the mattress and Mr Jalloh’s body. A crucial point is that the fire damage in the experiment was created by pouring 2.5 litres of petrol on the body and the mattress. In Mr Peck’s opinion, it is “most likely that a quantity of a volatile ignitable liquid, such as petrol, was poured over Mr Jalloh and deliberately ignited on the 7th of January 2005.” This is startling and should be cause for deep concern, a great deal of reflection, and potentially renewed legal action and rigorous investigation. The Commission views the demands of Oury Jalloh’s family to reopen investigations into Mr. Jalloh’s death as vital to the protection of civil and human rights in Germany. This evidence should give the government every encouragement to release any undisclosed documentation or evidence related to this case and to follow every lead to investigate his actual cause of death. In our view, this experiment, along with the last independent reports we have reviewed, have not only shown that Oury Jalloh was severely injured by external force, but that the fire was created by external sources and with a volatile ignitable liquid. The Commission will be reviewing the materials presented at today’s press conference in the coming weeks and months, in the context of our overall assessment of the case of Jalloh’s death.

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