Innocent in prison: syrian dies after fire in cell

Innocent in prison: syrian dies after fire in cell

A wrongfully imprisoned syrian man died two weeks after a fire in his detention cell. This was announced by a spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office in kleve at the request of the deutsche presse-agentur.

The 26-year-old had been innocently held in prison for more than two months. In mid september, a fire broke out in his cell in kleve in the rhineland, and the young man suffered severe burns. On friday, authorities admitted that the wrong sab was in the cell. For the syrian this realization came too late: he died on saturday in a clinic in bochum.

The public prosecutor’s office has initiated investigations against several police officers on suspicion of deprivation of liberty in office. "There is a lot to be said for individual failings on the part of police officers during the arrest," a spokesman for the NRW interior ministry said on monday. In addition to investigative proceedings, disciplinary proceedings have also been initiated against the officials. "We are taking this very seriously and are also checking the procedures at the police in kleve", it was said in dusseldorf.

The man who was actually wanted, a man from mali, had given himself the same name as the syrian. This name was noted next to the real name of the wanted man as an alias in the arrest warrant from hamburg, as the investigators explained. This became the syrian’s hang-up in geldern at the beginning of july, when his personal details were checked and the police arrested him.

In july, the hamburger public prosecutor’s office said it had inquired whether the identity of the arrested man had actually been established. "We do this routinely when aliases are available," said a spokeswoman for the hamburg investigative agency. The routine question had also been answered from kleve – with a "no". But the syrian was not released afterwards.

The hamburger authorities then asked again, their spokeswoman said: on what basis the syrian was then being held, they wanted to know. What has become of this second demand is currently unclear.

Other questions also need to be clarified: was there a mug shot of the wanted man from mali?? One look at it was enough to clear up the mistake? "This is now part of the investigation," said senior public prosecutor gunter neifer in kleve.

In addition to the syrian man, ten other people – eight staff members and two cellmates – suffered smoke poisoning in the prison fire. Prison warden udo gansweidt had rated suicide as unlikely immediately after the fire, because the 26-year-old was only supposed to serve until mid-october: "no one kills themselves for a few days like that."It was possible that he had fallen asleep with a cigarette, it was said at the time.

The alleged reason for the arrest was petty crime: an unpaid fine for theft.