Syrian Amad A. from Bonn burnt to death in prison New errors in the case revealed

DÜSSELDORF/KLEVE · In autumn the innocent imprisoned Amad A. from Bonn, Germany, died from the consequences of a fire in his cell in the prison in Kleve. Before his imprisonment, there is said to have been an erroneous change in his data before his imprisonment on July 6, 2018.

On 4 July 2018, an official of the district police in Siegen had entered into a database of the NRW police that Amad A. is perhaps identical with a Malian wanted in Hamburg with an arrest warrant. This was found out by the State Criminal Police Office, several people familiar with the process say. The police in Siegen was responsible for Amad A. because he was first accommodated in the refugee shelter Burbach in Germany.

The new information could lead to the fact that the investigations against Kleve police officers lead to less severe punishments because of the wrong imprisonment. "If a database in the country made it easier to confuse the two," says Düsseldorf lawyer Julius Reiter, "this could relieve the accused of depriving them of their liberty." However, the defendants should still be accused of negligent conduct, as they only had to compare the search photo of the dark-skinned Malian with the appearance of the light-skinned Syrian.

The astonishing thing is that the investigation into the death of Amad A. had already revealed a first erroneous change in the data. Three days after his imprisonment, the LKA in Hamburg had entered into the nationwide investigation file Inpol that the wanted Malian also had the alias Amed A.. Amed A. had originally been picked up by the police because he had been accused of harassing young girls, but he was arrested because of the accusations against the Malian.

The opposition demands that both cases be clarified. "We have to find out what happened", says Stefan Engstfeld, representative of the Green Party in the investigative committee on the death of Amad A. SPD member of parliament Sven Wolf, a fully qualified lawyer, goes even further: "The public prosecutor's office and the investigative committee have to investigate exactly. We have to clarify whether all this was just a chain of bad mistakes or whether there was manipulation somewhere. I hope it was all just stupidity."

Also, Michael Mertens, chairman of the police union (GdP), demands further investigations. But he also says: "I still cannot imagine that data was deliberately manipulated in order to imprison an innocent man. I don't see any reason why the colleagues should do that."

(Original text: Reinhard Kowalewsky; Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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