Date: Thu, 3 Jul 97 19:14:08 CDT
From: Amnesty International <>
Subject: Germany: Foreigners still the main victims of continuing pattern
AI INDEX: EUR 23/06/97
3 JULY 1997

Failed by the system—police ill-treatment of foreigners

Amnesty International, originally published May 1995 and reprinted in AI INDEX: EUR 23/06/97, 3 July 1997

Many of the officers allegedly responsible have therefore escaped prosecution, few, if any, have faced disciplinary sanctions, and none of the foreign or ethnic minority complainants have been compensated for the injuries they have suffered, Amnesty International said.

In a letter accompanying its report, addressed to Chancellor Helmut Kohl and to the 16 heads of government of the La[:]nder, Amnesty International expresses regret at the German Government's rejection in May 1997 of the Human Rights Committee's recommendation to establish independent bodies for the investigation of complaints of police ill-treatment.

It is essential that the German authorities establish additional mechanisms to those already in place for examining and responding to alleged police ill-treatment, the organization said in its letter. We therefore urge you to reconsider as a matter of urgency your Government's response to the Human Rights Committee's recommendation and call upon the federal and La[:]nder governments to establish permanent, independent oversight bodies.

In Amnesty International's view, these bodies should maintain uniform and comprehensive statistics on complaints about police ill-treatment and their outcome, be empowered to conduct their own investigations into such complaints, and recommend whether criminal and/or disciplinary charges should be brought against any of the officers involved. They should also be able to determine whether compensation should be awarded to the victims, and perform a continuous assessment of the measures adopted by the police authorities to prevent the use of excessive force or deliberate ill-treatment.

Finally, in a letter to the Federal Minister of the Interior, also accompanying its report, Amnesty International repeats its call for a full and impartial inquiry into the role and accountability of all agencies involved in the deportation process.

Amnesty International first called for such an inquiry in September 1994, following the death the previous month of Kola Bankole, a rejected asylum-seeker, while in police custody at Frankfurt airport. He had been bound, gagged and injected with a sedative during an attempt to deport him to Nigeria. In February 1997, the trial of the doctor who administered the sedative was halted. None of the police officers involved were ever charged.

We are still not convinced that adequate safeguards are in place which will prevent forcible deportations from being carried out in the future in a cruel, inhuman or degrading manner that could threaten deportees' safety and possibly lead to another death in police custody, the organization said.