Oury Jalloh: Death in Cell #5
In 2005, Oury Jalloh, an asylum seeker from Sierra Leone, was found dead, his body burned in a police cell in the German city of Dessau. To this day, nobody has been held accountable for his death.
redfish gained access to a trove of documents in the Oury Jalloh case, and spoke with the lawyers, experts and activists at the heart of what has become one of the most enduring scandals involving German police, German prosecutors and German courts. Almost 15 years on, the Jalloh case highlights the extent of institutional racism in the country.
During our investigation, we travelled to Dessau to speak with Mouctar Bah, was one of Oury's closest friends. He told us that racism within the police toward the migrant community is an everyday occurrence: "They use the N-word. Shall we take that n***r? Shall we put that n***er in the car? This is how they speak to one another."
Eddie Bruce-Jones, a legal scholar who has followed the case closely, said that police version of events state that Oury burned himself alive. "There's a scene that people can tap into where asylum applicants set themselves on fire… that's something that's definitely in the public imaginary and I think, for that reason, maybe it didn't seem outlandish or impossible to try to sell that story to people without any investigation."
On the other hand, it's the activists behind the campaign "Break the Silence" that seeks justice for Oury Jalloh's death, who have found themselves repeatedly dragged into court. One of their organisers, Tomas Ndinda, explained his view on the German police, "if you they are the good guys, murdering people, then we have to be the bad guys. It's very easy to discredit people for their activism for the truth."
"Oury Jalloh: Death in Cell #5" is the first comprehensive English-language investigation into the suspicious the death of Oury Jalloh.