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Home World Death in police custody in Delmenhorst: Qosay K. was unable to breathe

Death in police custody in Delmenhorst: Qosay K. was unable to breathe


Qosay Khalaf’s parents are publicly calling for clarification. It is clear to her lawyer that he died of a lack of oxygen.

250 people demonstrated on the market square in Delmenhorst because of the death of Qosay Photo: Michael Trammer

DELMENHORST taz | Even a month after 19-year-old Qosay Sadam Khalaf collapsed in police custody in Delmenhorst and later died, many questions remain unanswered. The public prosecutor’s office in Oldenburg has started an investigation. For the bereaved, questions arise: What did Qosay Khalaf die of? How did the police operation go? Has Qosay Khalaf been refused medical attention? What happened in police custody and why was the 19-year-old taken there in the first place?

About 250 people followed the call of the “Alliance in memory of Qosay – Solidarity against police violence!” On the town hall square of Delmenhorst on Easter Saturday. They demanded remembrance and justice. For the first time, the parents and a cousin spoke out in public. So far, the bereaved had reaffirmed their trust in the authorities and asked to refrain from demonstrations – now the family is also taking to the streets.

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The young man’s father, Sadam Khalaf, addressed the participants in Kurdish. In a serious, piercing voice and a white rose in his hand, he thanked them for the great sympathy. “Only the heart counts here – and that everyone is there for justice,” cousin Barsan Mehdi translated his words.

A little later, the boy’s mother, Sameera Haji, also turned to the crowd and said that on the afternoon of March 5, Qosay was still very healthy and had eaten at home. At 0.40 am, the police rang her doorbell – and told her that her son was in critical condition.

When the mother arrived at the clinic, Qosay was “practically” dead

Qosay’s father was not at home at the time. The refugee had to drive with her second son to the hospital about 40 kilometers away. When she finally got there, Qosay was full of blood and practically dead, Barsan translated her description of the events. You will give everything for justice.

The Bremen lawyer Lea Voigt, who represents the family together with her colleague Cahit Tolan, also took part in the rally. She does not understand the described, “insensitive” actions of the police.

Lea Voigt, lawyer for Qosay Khalaf’s family

“According to the autopsy report commissioned by the family, Qosay K. died of an oxygen deficiency-related cardiovascular failure”

Initially, there had been no investigations against the police officers deployed. But the family’s lawyers filed a criminal complaint. The public prosecutor in Oldenburg announced that the police and paramedics are being investigated “for all possible criminal offenses”. These are not yet known by name. The result of a toxicological investigation is also still missing. The family’s team of lawyers is currently waiting to inspect the files.

But it is clear, says Voigt, that the son of her client was healthy and suffered such serious health damage in the course of the police operation that he died. “According to the autopsy report commissioned by the family, Qosay K. died of an oxygen deficiency-related cardiovascular failure,” said the lawyer.

A witness had previously reported that Qosay K. had already said in the park that he could not breathe. “He was obviously not helped, that was not recognized – or one did not want to recognize it,” says Voigt.

The public prosecutor’s office in Oldenburg had ruled out external violence as a cause of death in an initial statement. She still leaves open what the 19-year-old died from. The second autopsy clearly shows: “There was external violence,” said attorney Voigt. There are hemorrhages in various parts of the body that indicate violence.

This is also shown by photos from the hospital that are available to the taz. The pictures show abrasions, bloody wounds, and dark spots on the skin. Voigt therefore assumes that means of restraint were used. “When, where and how exactly is unclear.”

The 19-year-old Qosay met a friend in the wool park in Delmenhorst, Lower Saxony, in the early evening of March 5th. Plainclothes police wanted to check him for “alleged drug use”. According to a police press release, Qosay ran away. It should have come to a confrontation with the officers. The police used pepper spray and “fixed” the young man.

The descriptions of the events differ at this point. An eyewitness says the police refused Qosay water and the paramedics did not want to take care of him properly. Police claim the young man refused medical help. Qosay is said to have collapsed around 8 p.m. in police custody. He then died on Saturday evening in a hospital in Oldenburg.

Fled from the IS genocide

Barsan Mehdi, Qosay’s cousin, says that he was sent to Europe by his father from southern Kurdistan as a teenager to escape the genocide of the Yezidis by the Islamic State terrorist militia. After arriving in Delmenhorst, Qosay worked in the pizzeria of the Barsan Mehdi family. His cousin always sent his savings to his family who remained in the crisis area.

He and his lawyer then sued for family reunification. Only Qosay’s sister had to stay in Iraq because she was of legal age. “He will never see her again in this life,” says Mehdi. Now the family is trying again to reunite the family. The city wants to support them.

The “Alliance in Memory of Qosay” wants to take to the streets for complete education and justice in the future. “Together we want to take a stand against police violence – because it is also about our security, our future and that of our children,” said Barsan Mehdi. At least 181 deaths have already occurred in police custody in Germany. “Racism and police harassment” should stop.

The police initially stayed in the background during the rally. When men stood with their fists in the air around a plaque with Qosay’s photo, officials filmed the crowd from a window of the Delmenhorst town hall and also the boy’s mother, sobbing with arms raised to the sky – in order to cover possible violations of the Corona Protection Ordinance document how the police reported on taz request.

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