Oury Jalloh died in a police cell in Dessau, Saxony-Anhalt, thirteen years ago, but the circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear until today / Photo: pa/obs/WDR/WDR_A&o_buero_Kolvenbach

Oury Jalloh: Independent Commission of Inquiry takes up investigations

An independent international commission of inquiry has been established to investigate the death of  Oury Jalloh, who burnt to death in a police cell in Dessau thirteen years ago.

An Independent International Commission of Inquiry to clarify the death of Oury Jalloh was founded in Berlin last weekend, and it has started work.

The commission has set itself the task of investigating the exact circumstances in which the Sierra Leone-born Oury Jalloh was burnt to death in a Dessau police station on 7 January 2005. The commission consists of nine persons from Germany, Italy, Britain and Austria.

In addition to finding the exact circumstances of Oury Jalloh’s death, the Commission also wants to shed light on why it took more than 12 years for the investigative authorities to even consider the possibility of murder in the case even in the face of several indications to that effect. Likewise, possible false allegations, manipulation of evidence, cover-up in forensic science and forensic medicine, as well as the exercise of pressure against witnesses shall be examined.

More than four thousand supporters took to the streets of Dessau on 7 January 2018 for the annual march to demand justice for Oury Jalloh who died in mysterious circumstances in police custody in the eastern German city 13 years ago / Photo: Initiative zum Gedenken an Oury Jalloh

Moreover, possible structural deficiencies in the general investigation and prosecution of police attacks against citizens and their prevention should also be investigated. The commission also wants to situate its investigations within the historical and social contexts in Germany and Europe and to look at the results in this light.

READ ALSO Thousands of demonstrators demand justice for Oury Jalloh

At the beginning of the investigations, the Independent Commission of Inquiry, according to a press release, will establish contact with all state investigative authorities, including the public prosecutor’s offices and the parliamentary judicial committees. It will continue to request full access to the investigation files and evidence at the Ministry of Justice of Saxony-Anhalt.

Whether and to what extent public authorities will promote or hinder the work of the Commission will become apparent in the coming months.

Sola Jolaoso

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