Statement to the media by the United Nations’ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, on the conclusion of its official visit to Germany, 20-27 February 2017

Berlin, 27 February 2017

Statement as pdf

The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent thanks the Government of Germany for its invitation to visit the country from 20 to 27 February, and for its cooperation. We thank the Federal Foreign Office, and the authorities in Berlin, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hamburg for their support. The views expressed in this statement are of a preliminary nature and our final findings and recommendations will be presented in our mission report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in September 2017.

During the visit, the Working Group assessed the human rights situation of people of African descent living in Germany, and gathered information on the forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, Afrophobia and related intolerance they face. The Working Group studied the official measures taken and mechanisms to prevent systemic racial discrimination and to protect victims of racism, as well as responses to multiple forms of discrimination.

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Article by the guardian

German police urged to re-investigate asylum seeker’s death in custody Friends and relatives of Oury Jalloh, who burnt to death in a police cell in 2005, say he may have been murdered

Philip Oltermann in Berlin, Tuesday 12 November 2013 18.07 GMT

Full article:

Fire Investigation Report by expert Maksim Smirnou

On 7 th of January 2005 fire discovered in detention room of Dessau Police Station caused death of Mr. Oury Jalloh. Deceased found chained to the wall and floor by his both hands and legs on reminds of burned mattress. It has passed 20 minutes between alarm off and the fire extinguished by fire brigade. Cigarette lighter was produced by policemen as source of ignition.

Download the full report as PDF file (contains potentially disturbing images!): Fire Investigation Report full

Pressekonferenz am 12.11.2013


LIVESTREAM der Pressekonferenz am 12.11., ab 11 Uhr.

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Einladung zur Pressekonferenz

Invitation in different languages:
‏زبان فارسی, deutsch, english, español, العربية, français, magyar, nederlands, português, русский, srpski

Neues Gutachten zeigt, dass die Behauptung, Oury Jalloh habe sich selbst angezündet, nicht weiter haltbar ist.

Dienstag, 12. November 2013, 11:00 Uhr,
Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte,
Robert-Havemann-Saal, Hof I, EG,
Greifswalder Str. 4, 10405 Berlin (Tram M4, Bus 200)

Die Initiative in Gedenken an Oury Jalloh lädt Sie im Namen der Angehörigen von Oury Jalloh zur oben genannten Pressekonferenz ein.

Am 07.01.2005 gegen 12 Uhr mittags verbrannte Oury Jalloh in einer Zelle des Dessauer Polizeigewahrsams bei lebendigem Leib, an Händen und Füßen auf einer nicht brennbaren Sicherheitsmatratze fixiert. Bei seiner Durchsuchung am Morgen war kein Feuerzeug gefunden worden.

Sein Tod blieb bis heute rätselhaft, u.a. deshalb, weil von den Gerichten bisher kein qualifiziertes, das heißt dem Geschehen adäquates Brandgutachten bestellt wurde.
Die Initiative in Gedenken an Oury Jalloh hat deshalb aus den Mitteln einer mehrmonatigen Spendensammlung ein neues qualifiziertes Brandgutachten bei einem ausländischen Brandgutachter in Auftrag gegeben. Auf der Pressekonferenz werden wir die Ergebnisse vorstellen. Das in Großbritannien erstellte Gutachten zeigt, dass die Behauptung, Oury Jalloh habe sich selbst angezündet, nicht länger haltbar ist.

Der Gutachter sowie ein Rechtsanwalt, der die Versuche und deren Dokumentation begleitet hat, werden bei der Pressekonferenz anwesend sein. Es werden Videosequenzen aus der Dokumentation der Brandversuche vorgestellt. Die dem Gutachten zugrunde liegenden Versuchsprotokolle mit den entsprechenden Werten können eingesehen werden. Außerdem wird ein Auszug derselben und eine Zusammenfassung der Ergebnisse zur Hand gereicht.

Aus organisatorischen Gründen bitten wir Sie herzlich um Mitteilung, ob und mit wie vielen Personen Sie an der Pressekonferenz teilnehmen werden.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen
Initiative in Gedenken an Oury Jalloh e.V.

Mouctar Bah : 0152 10 83 69 14
Komi E. 0176 38 11 31 35

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Trailer zur Ankündigung:

Einladung als PDF: Pressekonferenz_Einladung

External article: Oury Jalloh and a similar case in britain

Germany’s Stephen Lawrence

By Eddie Bruce-Jones

11 January 2012, 3:00pm

How can lessons from the Lawrence case be applied to that of Oury Jalloh, who was burned to death in a German police cell seven years ago?

Last Tuesday, here in the UK, two men were found guilty of the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence. This verdict, eighteen years in the making, gave the nation a chance to reflect on the dramatic changes that have resulted from the multiple investigations around the murder, including the ground-breaking Macpherson report (1999), which brought institutional racism among the police into the national spotlight.


Just a few days later, on 7 January, activists in Germany were preparing to march on the streets of Dessau to commemorate the most important and controversial death in custody in recent German history. They marched from the central train station to the police station to remember the death of a man from Sierra Leone named Oury Jalloh, and this day was the seventh anniversary of his death.

Read the whole article on


With this call we would like to invite all interested people to participate in the conferences in Berlin and Dessau as well as the demonstration in Dessau, all of which will be held in memory of Oury Jalloh, Layé Konde, Dominique Koumadio and all other victims of racist police brutality.

05 January 2008 – Memorial Conference in Berlin for the victims of racist police violence; 4 p.m., Mehringhof, Gneisenaustr. 2a, U6/U7 Mehringdamm

06 January 2008 Black Africa Conference in Dessau; 10 p.m., Beat Club

07 January 2008 – Demonstration in Dessau for the 3rd anniversary of Oury Jalloh’s murder, 1 p.m. Mainstation


Three years have now gone by since the German police murdered two Black-Africans. On the 7th of January, 2005, Oury Jalloh and Layé Konde were killed by the police. One may ask the question, what crime might they have committed? The answer: fulfilling the image of an enemy to this society being seen as both Black and foreign.”

Like Oury Jalloh, Layé Konde, too, was forced to flee from his home in Guinea to seek refuge in Sierra Leone, before the war in the West African country once again converted both Oury and Layé into refugees for a second time. Both Oury and Layé found their way to Europe to Germany where they hoped for a life in dignity.

But what they found here was not paradise but rather hell on Earth: police controls based on the color of their skin, a society that despises and rejects them, laws that completely restrict their freedom of movement to just a few kilometers, the permanent threat of deportation and all types of racist attacks all formed part of their everyday reality that is until they were murdered. Continue reading



Regina Kiwanuka Report On Dessau Demonstration 23.06.2007

2nd report



Foto and Video


Regina Kiwanuka Report On Dessau Demonstration – Part 1

The Demonstration that moved Dessau Protesting the injustice that has consistently befallen the African people over the centuries

The tears of more than 150 people over the terrifying death of Oury Jalloh poured in the city of Dessau on Saturday 23 June 2007 when heavy rains and thunder joined in the struggle to demand justice for the black man.>>>>>

At exactly 14hrs people from different cities in Germany and of different nationalities gathered at the front of the main train station in Dessau to once again protest against the appalling events surrounding Oury Jalloh’s untimely shocking death. Continue reading

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)


download call English (pdf)


I hadn’t realized that they even took away our right to call the most gigantic deportation in the history of humanity by its name. And that only because the slave traders, their descendants and their historians neither at that time nor at the present day used the word deportation or authorised its use to describe their practices.

Rosa Amelia Plumelle-Uribe

The Persecution of a Word

Those familiar with the brutality and horror of the apartheid regime can picture all too well the scenario: a Black man is tied at his hands and feet to a fireproof mattress in a holding cell at a police station. Hours later the man is dead, his body burnt like charcoal, the upper regions of his fingers burnt completely away. The official thesis: suicide.

On the 7th of January, 2005, Oury Jalloh, a human being converted into an eternal refugee, died under exactly these conditions in the city of Dessau, Germany. On that very same day the life of another African was extinguished: Layé Konde, who ten days before had chemicals forced down his throat by the police who were looking for possible drugs, had his life taken from him after not coming out of the coma induced by the police action. The number of police sentenced for the two deaths until today: 0.

Since that time, diverse refugee, migrant and anti-racist organizations have joined together to fight for truth, justice and restitutions. Under the slogan OURY JALLOH DAS WAR MORD, we organized ourselves in the Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh.

Our words, however, provoke fear and subsequent persecution on the part of the authorities. According to their logic, without knowing the exact incidents surrounding the events of the 7th of January, it is not a crime to describe the death of Oury Jalloh as self-murder (i.e. suicide), but it is a crime to describe it as a murder.

The power of language, the power of definition is decisive and a fundamental pillar of totalitarian—and colonial—power. It is used to silence opposition and to maintain hegemony over words and thoughts.

We must, however, never forget what past experiences have taught us; how often and ruthlessly genocide was committed so that all traces of the truth would be eliminated together with its victims, such as happened in Europe during the time of Nazi terror and with the separation of mothers from their children during the time of slavery, for example.

But, as the executioners, their descendants and their historians have been forced to repeatedly recognize: no matter how many are killed, no matter how far those in power are willing to go in order to fulfill their objectives, you can never eliminate a collective memory—and no oppression can last forever.

Selective Memory and the Non-Persecution of the Truth

That Justice is a blind goddess
is a thing to which we Blacks are wise:
Her bandage hides two festering sores
that once perhaps were eyes

Aimé Césaire

On the 27th of March, 2007, court proceedings finally began against two of the police officers implicated in the death of Oury Jalloh. Andreas Schubert and Hans-Ulrich März have been accused of negligence in the death of Oury Jalloh. Within the formal accusation presented by the state prosecutor—the only entity allowed to formulate such an accusation in Germany—neither racism nor any other possible cause of death play a role other than the official version: suicide. Likewise, the broken nose and broken middle-ear discovered in the second, independently financed autopsy, are not considered within the trial-based evidence permitted by the court (in other words, these facts are not even considered when the judge is to make his decision).

Until now, the trial has been nothing more than a confirmation of our deepest mistrust. For over two years we have consistently denounced the cover-up and the intentional attempt to win time. As expected, every single police officer or related state employee who has been called as a witness has shown remarkable coincidences between each other: all of them have a perfect memory—except that which involves the death of Oury Jalloh. There is, however, one exception: all seem to remember clearly that Andreas Schubert, accused of negligence for not having reacted in time, was swift in his response of running down into the basement, where Oury Jalloh had been chained down—and burnt to death—to a fireproof mattress.

The issue of racism, however, has remained just as absent from the trial as has any word of truth spoken on the part of the police. On only two occasions was racism made an issue: Once, as an African man was forced out of the courtroom for shouting „What have we ever done to you to deserve this,“ as the racist protocol between Andreas Schubert and the doctor who ordered Oury Jalloh to be chained, Dr. Blödau, was read aloud, and, secondly, as an African man was ordered by the judge to sit as the accused and apologize for his behavior or be accused of allegedly having offended a Nazi-party member.

Additionally, at the middle of May a scandal appeared (and disappeared just as quickly) in the national media: Hans-Christoph Glombitza, acting vice-director of the police in Dessau, was recorded in a conversation with members of the German state security office in which he said, referring to crimes committed by right-wing extremists, that, “one doesn’t have to see everything.”

Adding that the federal government programs to combat Nazi crimes and thought were, “really just for the art galleries anyway,” he pointed out that there are ways “to write reports slowly.” Citing a lack of evidence of a crime having been committed, the leading state prosecutor in Dessau, Volker Bittermann, has already refused to open investigations.

For their part, the police have seen the trial as an opportunity to intimidate and persecute members of the Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh. At least one hundred police—including dogs—have been set to surround and occupy the court inside and out.

Activists have not only been subject to massive security controls and the photocopying of their identity papers, but also direct persecution, as described above. Additionally, civil-clothed police have tried to control and intimidate members of the Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh.

Why we must fight—not just protest or question

My tongue shall serve those miseries which
have no tongue, my voice the liberty of those
who found themselves in the dungeons of despair.

Aimé Césaire

We have neither deceased in our struggle for truth and justice nor in the conviction that only we will decide which words we will use. The fight for truth and justice in the case of Oury Jalloh—like that of Dominique Koumadio, shot to death by the police in Dortmund on April 14, 2006—is a question of survival. The arrogance and lack of human understanding—especially toward non-whites—within the police is exactly that which permits Oury Jalloh to die in such a vile manner. Moreover, the fact that it is so systematic and historic is one of the many reasons why we have and will continue to speak of murder.

This goes far beyond a question of simple protest or questioning official versions of Oury’s, Laye’s or Dominique’s deaths. On the contrary, it is as much a question of self-determination as it is the rage against so much perpetual brutality.

We cannot and will not let ourselves to continue functioning within this murderous normality, accomplices of our own death and persecution. By refusing to speak out and by silencing our own beliefs, we are only contributing further to the duration of our common suffering.

We refuse. We refuse to obey. We refuse to continue being a part of our own oppression. We refuse to remain silent, much less be silenced. That time is over.




For more information contact:
Tel: +(49)170-8788124 or