You are here

Eng&Deutsch) Press Release: Oury Jalloh Initiative “Out of the Court – Back on the Street!” in Dessau

D e u t s c h: Gerichtsprozess im Fall Oury Jalloh eine Farce

Nationwide demonstration to be held in Dessau on August 2, 2008. The demonstration will begin at the central train station at 1 p.m. The motive of the demonstration is to denounce the most recent scandalous developments in the case of Oury Jalloh.

Initiative in Gedenken an Oury Jalloh - Who was burned to death in the Dessau Police Station Cell on the 7th of January in 2005
initiative-ouryjalloh(at) / Mobil: +49 (0)170-8788124

Berlin – July 28, 2008
Press Release

Under the motto “Out of the Court – Back on the Street!” the Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh is calling for a nationwide demonstration to be held in Dessau on August 2, 2008. The demonstration will begin at the central train station at 1 p.m. The motive of the demonstration is to denounce the most recent scandalous developments in the case of Oury Jalloh.

The following is the respective declaration of the Initiative in Memory of Oury Jalloh:

How many scandals are necessary in order to scandalize a scandal? How insignificant is the death of a Black man at the hands of the police and their subsequent bold-faced attempts to conceal the truth to the society as a whole and the press in particular? How many lies, cover-ups, contradictions and persecutions are necessary in order for the silence to be broken?

After having struggled – and succeeded – to force a trial for the death of Oury Jalloh, in June of this year the initiative founded in memory of the murdered African refugee has withdrawn from observing the proceedings following 15 months and 43 hearings of systematic lies and cover-up.


Practically all of the evidence presented until this moment contradicts everything the police have claimed until now. From the detention itself to the conditions of his being brought into the police station, from the mysterious lighter to the fireproof mattress, from the disappeared and tampered with evidence to the contradiction between the reconstructions of the fire and the extremely charcoaled state of Oury Jalloh’s corpse, the entire body of witness testimony stands in direct contradiction of the thesis put forth by the police through internal bulletins and subsequently taken up by the State Prosecutor immediately following the burning to death of a human being chained at his hands and feet to a fireproof mattress in a holding cell of the police: Oury Jalloh set himself afire (i.e. suicide). “All these is horrendous and brutal”, say Mouctar Bar, the founder of the Initiative.

In spite of all these pieces of evidence which clearly indicate that a serious crime is being covered up on the part of the police, in the trial in Dessau against two police officers for negligence and having overlooked a lighter, respectively, the District Court of Dessau led by Judge Steinhoff continues to ignore and marginalize ab absurdum any other factor not directly related to the approximately six minute time frame which the main accused Schubert is said to have had to save Oury Jalloh’s life.

The fact that no one could hear the screams of a man being burned to death, the testimony of police officer Kiez, the fire specialist from Magdeburg with 27 years of experience who “found” the lighter, the fact that Oury Jalloh had his pants down to his thighs, that an unexplained puddle of liquid was seen in the middle of the cell by numerous witnesses, the contradictory statements by the two detaining police officers as to their location at the time of the crime, the broken nose, burnt off fingers and damaged eardrum, the extreme charcoaled state of the corpse, the disappeared video and handcuffs, the revealing testimony of Swen Ennulat, the shocking reconstruction of the fire and, perhaps more importantly, how the fire broke out in the first place, all are considered by all parties involved in these hearings to be irrelevant to the trial itself.

As the people who have faced the trauma associated with confronting such a horrendous death in custody day in day out for over 3 ½ years, as the people whose sweat, tears and sacrifice have forced a trial which otherwise would have and still probably will end in impunity, as many of the same people who have faced direct police brutality based on the color of our skin, in the face of such an appalling affront to the rule of law we have seen ourselves forced to withdraw from the trial in protest.

In spite of the fact that for years the authorities have done everything in their power to criminalize us, to impede our freedom of speech, to present us as violent offenders whose identification papers have to be constantly searched alongside our bodies, in spite of the criminal persecution against Mouctar Bah, the friend of Oury Jalloh and his family’s representative here in Germany, in spite of the constant lies and cover-ups, in spite of being angry and desperate for the truth, we have respected the authority of the court and have passively watched yet another display of arrogance and systematic contempt not only of the court itself but first and foremost of the now deceased Oury Jalloh and all of us who identify with him.

But we shall no longer serve as the legitimation for their show trial nor shall we will remain passive in light of such continued abuses. As such, we will take back the streets which helped us force the trial in the first place. As we have repeatedly shown over the course of these last 44 months, we will break the silence and we will continue our struggle to see that the only wish which can now remain for the Jalloh family of their son be fulfilled: to know the truth about how and why their son had to die. “We see this case as having something to do with murder which the state is trying to cover-up and society turns a deaf ear and a blind eye but, we shall be relentless and steadfast”, emphasized Mouctar Bah again.

In addition, we shall do everything in our power to see that through our struggle we not only break the silence of a complicit society in the case of Oury Jalloh, but also that the many other numerous cases of police brutality and sometimes even murder, like that of Dominique Koumadio, Laye-Alama Konde and John Achidi, to name just a few, are exposed and justice is done.

For more information please see our contact information listed above.



E-MAIL: initiative-ouryjalloh(at) / Mobil: +49 (0)170-8788124