2003 Report by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Theo van Boven


537. By letter dated 2 September 2002, the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information on the following individual cases, to which the Government responded by letter dated 29 November 2002.

538. Josef Hoss was allegedly ill-treated by police officers of the Special Deployment Command on 8 December 2000, in the North Rhine-Westphalian town of St. Augustin. A group of masked men allegedly opened the doors of his van and pulled him out of the vehicle onto the road. The men, who appeared to be police officers, reportedly handcuffed, kicked and hit him with their batons and fists, in particular in the ribs and back. Shortly afterwards, he reportedly lost consciousness and woke up leaning against a wall, still handcuffed, with a cloth bag over his head. It was reported that he was subsequently taken to a police station in St. Augustin, where he was reportedly placed in a cell without any explanation. He was reportedly arrested on suspicion of possessing hand-grenades and firearms. He was reportedly released later the day after. According to the medical report of the doctor who examined him in Siegburg on 11 December 2000, he was said to have suffered abrasions to his left eye, the ridge of his nose, right eye socket, and back of his head. He reportedly sustained several bruisings. In addition, there were signs that degrees of force had been applied to Josef Hoss’s teeth, and that he had two fractured ribs. A second medical examination conducted on 19 December 2000 was said to have confirmed the injuries. He reportedly suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the incident. No investigation is believed to have been initiated into the incident.

539. The Government recognized that these allegations are broadly correct. It provided detailed information regarding the reason for his arrest. The Government clarified that the Special Police Forces (Spezialeinsatzkommando - SEK) decision to arrest him was based on information provided by the District Police Authority concerning dangers inherent in the operation and the consequent efforts of SEK to carry out the operation with as little risk as possible. SEK had also to take into account the possibility that the arrested person might have been in possession of weapons. The Government further informed that as he had been injured during the operation, he was examined by an emergency doctor who found that he sustained abrasions and bruisings, but considered him to be fit for detention. On 21 August 2001, the Public Prosecution Office in Bonn charged him with negligent violation of the Weapons Act. On 16 January 2002, Siegburg Local Court discontinued the proceedings on ground of insignificance. Finally, the Government informed that an investigation into causing bodily harm during the performance of official duty was under way at Bonn Public Prosecution at the time of writting. According to the Government, Sieburg District Police Authority and the competent supervisory authority will assess disciplinary aspects of the police officers’ conduct once the investigation proceedings have been concluded.

540. Walter Herrmann was reportedly arrested on 18 September 2001 in Cologne. One police officer reportedly twisted his ears and grabbed hold of his testicles at the time of the arrest, which Walter Herrmann resisted. At Cologne-Kalk Police headquarters, he was reportedly violently pinned down to the ground. He was allegedly subsequently taken into a cell with his arms twisted high behind his back. In the police cell, while handcuffed, he was allegedly pinned to the floor. At the time, his face was reportedly pressed against the cell floor. Then, two police officers allegedly twisted his arms behind his back and attached his legs with foot restraints to metal bolts incorporated into the structure of the floor of the cell. Walter Herrmann reportedly sustained multiple injuries as a result. He was reportedly taken to hospital by the police, where he remained for seven days. According to a preliminary medical report issued by the Kalk Evangelical Hospital, his injuries included first degree concussion, bruising to the cranium, an open fracture of the bridge of the nose, bruising to the chest and a fracture to a rib. Cologne’s Police headquarters allegedly passed on the case to Cologne State Prosecutor’s Office in order for the Prosecutor to determine whethe r the police officers were responsible for any criminal offence.

541. The Government informed that the allegation according to which he was intentionally and brutally ill-treated while being restrained at Police headquarters without having offered any form of resistance has not been confirmed. The Government confirmed that investigation proceedings against those police officers who participated in the coercive measures were conducted at the Cologne Public Prosecution Office. Following a request made by the competent Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the alleged victim submitted a medical report referred to above. The investigation proceedings have not been concluded yet.

542. By letter dated 2 September 2002, the Special Rapporteur, jointly with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, advised the Government that he had received information on the following individual case.

543. Stefan Neisius reportedly died in a Cologne hospital on 24 May 2002. He had been admitted to hospital on 11 May 2002 after having allegedly been ill-treated by several police officers of Cologne’s First Police Inspectorate (Polizeinspektion 1) at Eigelstein Police Station earlier the same evening. With the help of police reinforcements and through the use of pepper-spray, police officers reportedly restrained Stefan Neisius, placing him in handcuffs and brutally beating him. Two police officers reportedly made statements confirming the ill-treatment of Stefan Neisius at the police station. They reportedly stated that they had witnessed police officers surrounding Stefan Neisius, as he lay handcuffed on the floor of the police station, and repeatedly kicking him in the head, body, arms and legs. Due to the severity of his bleeding, he was reportedly taken to a Cologne hospital where he went into a coma. According to a statement made on 24 May 2002 by the Chief of Cologne Police, a special investigative commission had been established under the guidance of the Public Prosecutors’ Office to examine the allegations of police ill-treatment. Six police officers were reportedly suspended from service shortly after the allegations of ill-treatment came to light on suspicion of having physically assaulted Stefan Neisius.

544. By letter dated 12 September 2002, the Special Rapporteur, jointly with the Special Rapporteur on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance and the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, advised the Government that he had received information on the following individual cases, to which the Government responded by letter dated 14 November 2002.

545. Denis Mwakapi, a man originally from Kenya, was reportedly assaulted by four individuals on 23 December 2000 in Nuremberg allegedly because they believed that he was aggressive towards his German wife. Denis Mwakapi reportedly sustained a swollen upper lip during the assault. Three police vehicles reportedly arrived at the scene shortly afterwards. Both Denis Mwakapi and his wife reportedly attempted to inform the police officers of the background to the incident. However, the police officers allegedly arrested Denis Mwakapi after he became agitated. One of the police officers was alleged to have forcefully twisted his arm behind his back, fracturing his lower right arm in the process. Reportedly, the police officers subsequently handcuffed and placed him in a police vehicle, in spite of the detainee’s repeated requests for a doctor, and took him to Nüremberg Mitte Police Station, where his request to be medically examined was allegedly denied. He was reportedly released some hours later. A medical examination conducted on the same day at the Klinik für Unfallchirurgie revealed that he had suffered a fractured arm. He was subsequently hospitalized on 26 December 2000 in order to undergo an operation and remained in hospital until 5 January 2001. He reportedly lodged criminal complaints of physical assault and denial of assistance with the Public Prosecutor’s Office. The latter allegedly informed his lawyer that proceedings against the two police officers had been terminated. A subsequent attempt by Denis Mwakapi’s lawyer to have the investigation reopened also reportedly failed.

546. The Government indicated that Denis Mwakapi was taken to Nuremberg Central Police Station for clarification of the above-mentioned incident because he was reportedly unwilling to clear up the facts on the spot. Physical coercion was needed during his transfer since he put up resistance to it and behaved aggressively. He was placed in preventive detention after his wife expressed fears that she could not cope with him, in particular due to his drunkenness. When he later complained of pain in his arm some hours later, the police officers concerned did not believe him, as there were no visible signs of injury. The investigations carried out by the Public Prosecution Office against the two police officers accused of causing bodily harm, failure to lend assistance and prosecution of innocent persons did not result in facts sufficient to constitute an offence. The behavior of the accused police officers was considered under these circumstances correct, necessary and proportionate. It is not clear whether the spiral fracture of his right forearm that he sustained is the result of the police officers’ coercion or of the fight he previously sustained with the two men. The Nuremberg-Fürth Public Prosecution Office terminated the investigation proceedings. After further investigations, the Nuremberg-Fürth Public Prosecution Office terminated the investigation proceedings and the Regional Prosecution Office attached to Nuremberg Higher Regional Court rejected the appeal against the decision to terminate proceedings. Finally, his application for a judicial decision in the proceedings to force the Public Prosecution Office to press criminal charges was rejected as unfounded in a ruling by the Criminal Division of Nuremberg Higher Regional Court dated 27 May 2002.

547. Doviodo Adekou, a Togolese asylum-seeker, was allegedly ill-treated in the town of Mettmann, North Rhine-Westphalia on 1October 2001, as police officers attempted to detain him for the purposes of placing him in pre-deportation detention centre. A police officer reportedly attempted to handcuff him but had to call two more police officers into the room when his attempts failed. The three police officers allegedly grabbed hold of Doviodo Adekou’s arms and pulled him face-down onto the floor. While he lay on the floor of the office, he was allegedly punched in the right eye. He was later taken to Wuppertal Clinic, where he was said to have been treated until 9 October 2001. A complaint assault was said to have been lodged with Mettmann’s District Police Authority.

548. The Government informed that in the light of information according to which Doviodo Adekou would seek to avoid his deportation, the Mettman District Enforcement Officers decided to place him in custody and bring him before a magistrate to examine an arrest warrant for ensuring his deportation. A struggle started between him and officers of the District Administration at the moment of his arrest on 1st October 2002. As a result, the enforcement officers sustained injuries and Daviodo Adekou was seriously wounded in the right eye, which he lost later. The deportation scheduled for 12 October 2001 was cancelled. An investigation was initiated following Daviodo Adekou’s complaint filed on 24 January 2002 at the District of Mettmen Police Authority. A date for the completion of the investigation could not be foreseen at the time of writting. The Government has also indicated that after this incident, it had been decided by the District Administration that such arrests would only be carried out in consultation with police officers and that the enforcement officers would also be trained more thoroughly in arrest techniques.

549. Svetlana Lauer, a woman from the former Soviet Union, was reportedly illtreated by several police officers in Hallstadt on 20 February 2002. Police officers reportedly forced their way into her home after she had actively resisted their entry because of their failure to produce a written search warrant. She was allegedly hit on the head several times and her arms were twisted in the back by police officers. Being handcuffed, her hair was reportedly pulled violently. While she was resisting the officers, she was allegedly kicked and her head was hit on the floor. She was then taken to Hallstadt police station, where she was later charged with resisting arrest and physically assaulting police officers on duty. Svetlana Lauer reportedly remained in the same semi- naked state during the two hours she spent at the police station, during which time she was interviewed by male police officers. According to a medical report issued on 26 February 2002, Svetlana Lauer’s injuries included multiple bruising and grazing, in particular on the head, shoulders and thorax.

550. The Government informed the Special Rapporteur that the Bamberg Public Prosecution Office launched an investigation against the police officers involved in the incident after she had filed a criminal complaint on 22 February 2002. According to the results of the investigation, which is not yet completed, she was not abused, insulted, hit, kicked, or otherwise humiliated, the officers did not intentionally hit her head against the wall, nor pulled her hair. Instead, it is reported that Sveltana Lauer behaved very aggressively and that it cannot be ruled out that she hit her head or other body parts against the wall during the physical fight that took place between her. According to a medical examination carried out on 28 February 2002, it could not be conclusively determined whether the documented injuries were the result of mistreatment by the police officers. An investigation proceeding in relation to these facts is pending against Sveltana Lauer based upon obstructing enforcement officers in the execution of their official duties, defamation, and bodily harm.

Urgent appeals

551. On 18 February 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal on behalf of 19 ethnic Chechens who were believed to be at risk of being forcibly returned to the Russia Federation following their failed attempts to gain refugee status. One of them, Sulim Chadisov was reportedly forcibly returned to the Russian Federation on the morning of 18 February after having been detained at Langenhagen prison, Hannover. It was believed that he and his family had fled Chechnya to Germany in July 2001 after Russian military operations near their village had intensified. It was also reported that during twice-yearly study visits in Moscow, he had been detained by the police on several occasions.

552. By letter dated 9 April 2002, the Government responded that the case of Sulim Chadisov had been subject to a legal examination before his deportation on 18 February 2002. The decision of the Federal Office for the recognition of foreign refugees to refuse his claim as “manifestly unfounded” had been confirmed by the court. A report of the Foreign Office states that no corroborated information exists that, since October 1999, deported Russian na tionals of Chechen ethnicity have been subjected to repression. There was however a risk for persons who have been active in the Chechnya question. The Government has requested information from governmental and non-governmental sources as to the whereabouts of Sulim Chadisov.

553. On 28 February 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal on behalf of Mehmet and Naday Turgay, and their five children, Berivan, Rojin, Rewesen, Merwan and Emin, all from Kurdish origin, who were said to be at risk of imminent deportation to Turkey on 1 March 2002 by the Aliens Office of Osnabrück. Their asylum applications were said to have been refused on several occasions and Mehmet Turgay was reportedly sentenced to six years’ imprisonment by the Landgericht Osnabrück for illegal trade with narcotics and conditionally released on 5 April 2001. It was believed that a number of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) have denounced the latter as a member of the PKK during trials in Turkey.

554. By letter dated 26 March 2002, the Government replied that it was not in a position to interfere in the asylum determination procedure or stop a deportation. The Government could only assist by providing relevant information to the responsible authorities and courts, which were not, however, bound by it. The deportation of Mehmet Turgay did not take place as planned on 1 March 2002, as he had disappeared in the meantime. He is searched for by the police. Due to his criminal convictions, deportation was ordered pursuant to article 47 of the Aliens Law. The Government has requested a renewed examination of the existence of any legal obstacles to removal of Mehmet Turgay, such as a risk of torture. According to information received, he appears not to be searched for in Turkey.


555. The Special Rapporteur acknowledges the detailed information provided by the Government.

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small logo   This report has been published by Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights on August 2, 2005.