Media accuses German police of torture of detained migrants

NDR public radio publishes German police’s WhatsApp photos torturing young immigrants

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A German public radio has reported allegations that German police tormented young migrants in custody in the northern state of lower Saxony.

Norddeutscher Rundfunk radio (NDR) accused Hanover federal police officers of mistreating the detained migrants and of recording their attacks on mobile phones and sharing them with the public.

NDR used data from the mobile phone application WhatsApp data as evidence of the German  police officers’ alleged cruelty.

The public radio claimed that it obtained photos from two different incidents showing that police officers handcuffed detainees and turned them upside down on the floor.

The first incident recorded and shared through Whatsapp concerned a 19-year-old Afghan man. The man was detained in March 2014 because he did not present a valid passport at Hanover’s train station.

The police officer who arrested the Afghan migrant reportedly sent a message through WhatsApp saying "I knocked him away. An Afghan. With prohibited entry [to Germany]. I stuck my finger in his nose. And he choked. It was funny. And I dragged him by the foot shackles through the station. It was great. He squealed like a pig. It was a gift from Allah."

According to media reports, a second case happened at the same police station with another 19-year-old migrant. The Moroccan refugee was detained because he was caught on a train without a ticket.

NDR used another WhatsApp message as evidence its claim was true. A police officers using WhatsApp was reported as saying said "[an officer] heard him squeal like a pig, then the bastard gobbled up the rotten pork leftovers in the refrigerator. Off the floor."

One of the unnamed officials from the Hanover station said that these incidents were not the only ones in the station against migrants in custody. He asserted that they even hear loud cries from the cells sometimes.

After the claims were published, government authorities started investigations into the incidents. Attorney General Thomas Klinge said that he  “received a complaint last week that referred to assaults in a police department of the federal police."

The police department stressed that they are pursuing a transparent investigation into the incidents, but did not give any detailed information.

Refugees being tormented by officials is not new Germany. Last year, images of security guards attacking immigrants at an asylum center became public and four guards were arrested following investigations.

German media discovered and published mobile phone messages of the security guards, including a photo in which a security guard held his foot on the neck of a 20-year-old migrant. In another video a police officer forced an immigrant lie in his vomit.

Germany has witnessed an increase in suspicion and negative feelings toward Muslims in recent months as far-right and right-wing populist parties seek to benefit from a growing fear of Islam and Muslims, largely influenced by reports of atrocities committed by ISIS in the middle east.

Germany has approximately 4 million Muslim residents, 3 million of whom are of Turkish origin.

TRTWorld and agencies