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Drug dealer and rejected asylum seeker Laye-Alama Condé. Twitter

A memorial to a migrant criminal in Bremen

In Bremen, Germany, the victims of serious crime are not worth the attention of politicians. The socialist SPD, the Greens and the Left have all agreed not to build a memorial to crime victims but to a perpetrator instead.

Published: November 22, 2020, 7:21 am

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    Bremen

    Despite the already financially unsound budget of the extreme-left Hanseatic city, 60 000 euros were made available for a monument to a criminal. One of the few vehement critics of legal this inversion, is Jan Timke.

    “To honor such a person even indirectly with a memorial would damage the general public’s sense of justice and thus further erode citizens’ trust in politics and the rule of law,” Timke told Berlin weekly Junge Freiheit. “We cannot afford that at all, especially in the historical crisis situation in which Germany is currently mired!”

    Who is this monument for? On December 27, 2004, police officers arrested Laye-Alama Condé (34) at Sielwallkreuzung in the Steintorviertel. The officials had suspected drug trafficking. The dark-skinned man had in fact swallowed drug packages. While in custody at police headquarters, he was given emetics through a gastric tube. But the rejected asylum seeker from Sierra Leone had opposed the medical intervention.

    He was nevertheless handcuffed and a doctor inserted the tube through his nose. The drug dealer then clenched his teeth and repeatedly swallowed his vomit, evidence from the last trial showed. He had swallowed five hazelnut-sized packets of cocaine. Then Condé fainted, was taken to a clinic and died days later. Water had gotten into his lungs and had caused a lack of oxygen to the brain.

    The proceedings against the doctor was discontinued in November 2013 and he was ordered to pay a fine of 20 000 euros. The money was given to the drug dealer’s mother. In 2006 the European Court of Justice classified emetics as a violation of the prohibition of torture.

    It was well known that this procedure is dangerous, but at the time it had been legitimized by leftist politicians. None of the political leaders have ever been held accountable however. In 1995, the then Bremen Health Senator Christine Wischer (SPD) is said to have expressed concerns about this procedure, but Justice Senator Henning Scherf (SPD) defended the use of emetics in a letter.

    According to German magazine Spiegel, Scherf, who testified in the Condé trial against the doctor as a witness, stated: “This letter was not written by me.” He could not remember that he had dismissed ethical objections at all.

    Timke described the behavior of the SPD to support the application for the construction of the monument as the convulsive attempt of the former mayors Scherff and Böhrnsen as well as the then Justice State Council and today’s Interior Senator Mäurer to “whitewash” the Condé case and “make it appear in a positive light”.

    And he pointed out that there was still another leading Social Democrat, “who was a vehement supporter of the use of emetics at the time, but is not mentioned in the motion”. This top politician is not from Bremen: It is none other than the current Federal Finance Minister and SPD candidate for Chancellor, Olaf Scholz.

    As Hamburg Senator for the Interior, Scholz introduced the use of emetics in the Hanseatic city in 2001 and defended this method because there was “no alternative” after the Nigerian Achidi John died in December of the same year during an emetic use ordered by the police at Eppendorf University Hospital.

    According to German daily taz, the Initiative in memory of Laye-Alma Condé has been campaigning for a memorial for Condé for several years already and justified their commitment by saying: “The death of Laye Condé while in police custody has made its mark in the history of Bremen. The memory of him must therefore find a concrete and symbolic place in Bremen. Because there is a social responsibility to name what happened and to permanently remember: An asylum seeker who was suspected of a crime was tortured and ultimately killed in the course of a police measure that was wanted and ordered by the political side.”

    Then the Initiative suddenly changed its line of argument and the incident is now all about racism. The regional magazine butenunbinnen from Radio Bremen thus announced: “It shouldn’t be about Condes’ personal life.” The broadcaster quoted the Initiative’s spokeswoman, Gundula Oerter. “At today’s commemorative event, we also want to address racist violence that takes place, for example, in police custody or in psychiatric hospitals, as some cases in recent years show.”

    The final decision has since been postponed to December.

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