20 May [EN] Donauwörth police attack – Trial report of 6 May 2019 in Augsburg, Germany (Justizwatch)
Police witness admits: Biased, sub-standard methods to identify “perpetrators” used in the Donauwörth raid
The Gambian asylum seeker Sam D. was arrested on March 14, 2018 during a police raid in the Donauwörth first reception camp in Bavaria. He later received an order of punishment (Strafbefehl) for ‘breach of public peace’ (Landfriedensbruch). He was accused of having, together with others, prevented the search for a deportee in the night before the arrest. In court Sam D. decisively rejected the accusations: He had not left his room that night. D.’s roommate at the time confirmed these statements in his witness statement. Already on 7th November 2018 the Augsburg local court established in that no violent prevention of deportation had taken place in the night of March 14, 2018.
Three other witnesses, a social worker, a security guard and a police commissioner (POK), all present at the Donauwörth first reception camp on the night of March 14, 2018, could not confirm the allegations against D. Neither during the trial nor immediately after the raid were they able to recognise Sam D. as an alleged perpetrator.
The questioning of the detective chief superintendent (KHK) responsible for the Donauwörth case was however revealing. He reported in detail on what had already been suggested in the trial against two other Gambians in November 2018: The identification of the 30 alleged perpetrators who were arrested during the raid in the afternoon in no way corresponded to the guidelines for the criminal proceedings (Richtlinien für das Strafverfahren).These state that a valid identification of offenders must be based on a 1:8 ratio of election pictures. For each photo of a suspect, witnesses must be presented with eight additional pictures of similar-looking persons.
Instead, the thirty suspects in Donauwörth were selected by a single security guard. The police arrested the selected persons and photographed them. These pictures were then presented to the same security guard and other witnesses for identification. The thirty persons spent two months in custody and were later found guilty by the Augsburg local court.
In response to the defense attorney’s question as to why the standard identification with the selection of photographs had not been used, the superintendent replied that this had not been organisationally possible nor feasible. Concerning asylum seekers, criminal justice authorities thus seem to assume, that fundamental rights of the accused can be neglected.
The usual translation problems were particularly severe in this trial: the Mandinka-German interpreter spoke neither German nor Mandinka fluently. According to trial observers who were native speakers of Mandinka, his translation was completely incomprehensible. After questioning the first witnesses, there were protests against the translation by the trial observers and participants. The interpreter then stopped translating completely. The judge was however not disturbed by the fact that the defendant had no idea about what was going on in the courtroom.
Since the prosecution’s main witnesses did not appear – without announcing their absence – the trial was suspended after about two hours.
At the end of the hearing, a court official forced two trial observers to destroy their notes. He claimed that the judge would not allow them to publish the detective chief superintendent’s statement word-for-word because they were not from the press. As the official became increasingly aggressive, the two observers tore up their notes and handed him the shreds – an act of intimidation against independent trial observers, obviously intended to prevent critical reporting!
There was again great solidarity with the defendant: around 30 trial observers and supporters took part in a rally before the court, about 20 of whom were able to follow the trial in the full courtroom.
As soon as known when trial will be continue, we will inform you about further trial dates.
Aufruf für Prozessbeginn am 7.11.2018 in Augsburg