Turkish man dies after being held by German police

7th March 2008, Comments 2 comments

The incident has strained relations with Turkey

Hagen, Germany -- A 26-year-old Turkish national who was restrained by German policemen during a struggle at a police station has died, police in the city of Hagen said.

The case has upset public opinion in Turkey, with allegations by the man's relatives that he may have been beaten to death. The head of Turkey's parliamentary human rights committee, Zafer Uskul, has reportedly demanded that Germany mount a full inquiry.

The police in Hagen, part of the Ruhrgebiet metro area, said he died Wednesday evening in hospital without awakening from a coma.

Police say the man became violent while in custody, was strapped down on to a stretcher and then suffered cardiac arrest.

Hagen senior prosecutor Reinhard Rolfes said Thursday an investigation by his office indicated the cause of death was a cerebral oedema caused during resuscitation and an overdose of cocaine in the mid-February incident.

Doctors operated in hospital to relieve the oedema, an accumulation of fluid in the brain, but the man was too far gone.

Rolfes rejected allegations in Turkish-language newspapers against the police. The man's relatives filed a formal assault complaint against the police officers. Rolfes said nothing discovered so far corroborated the complaint.

"Right now there are no grounds to continue the inquiry," he said. An autopsy was being conducted Thursday.

Police said the incident began when the man called them to complain he was being persecuted by a "black man." Patrolmen found he was confused and took him back to the police station, where he began to hit and struggle.

The officers insist the only restraint they used was to fasten him to the stretcher. A blood test showed the man had taken a large quantity of cocaine. Rolfes said the drug sometimes caused cardiac and circulatory difficulties.

Headlines in Turkey have included the newspaper Vatan's "German police beat Turkish youth into a coma" and the newspaper Takvim's "German Terrorism."

Another paper, Radikal, said Uskul had written to his German parliamentary counterpart, Herta Daeubler-Gmelin, demanding an inquiry. Uskul had said the coma was the consequence of police force and the case should be checked out independently.

The case follows suspicions last month in the Turkish media that an apartment building fire which killed nine Turkish nationals in Ludwigshafen was deliberately lit by racists. The German investigation said the most likely cause was accidental.

DPA with Expatica

2 Comments To This Article

  • D J Kurth posted:

    on 8th March 2008, 21:24:33 - Reply

    It is unfortunate that the Turks seem to be looking for excuses to blame "the West" (perhaps "Muslims vs. Christians) for anything that seems to validate their views and opinions.
  • albrecht posted:

    on 7th March 2008, 19:08:47 - Reply

    Turks complaining about police brutality! And their prisons and police forces are well-known for their sanitary and polite conditions! This was an accidental overdoes as a result of abusing an illegal drug. The police did all they could to help him. It might bearing noting that if this man was in Turkey and survived his overdose he might well have been executed, or imprisoned for life, due to Turk system of justice with regard to narcotics.