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Hanover cops face torture investigation

May 17, 2015

German public radio has reported that federal police in the northern state of Lower Saxony are accused of attacking migrants in their custody for entertainment. Prosecutors are investigating the case.

Federal police
Image: picture alliance/dpa

Norddeutscher Rundfunk reports that prosecutors in Lower Saxony are looking into the Hanover federal police for allegedly mistreating prisoners and documenting the violence in a series of mobile phone photos and text messages. In an exclusive, NDR has detailed at least two incidents of official violence against migrants in custody.

"We received a complaint last week that referred to assaults in a police department of the federal police," Attorney General Thomas Klinge told NDR.

The public radio and television network showed a photo of a shackled Moroccan teenager "in an unnatural position." According to NDR, the evidence implicates multiple officers. An unnamed official from the Hanover federal police told NDR that the two cases it has reported are not isolated.

'Like a pig'

In the first incident that NDR found evidence for, police arrested a 19-year-old from Afghanistan at the Hanover train station in March 2014 after he was found without a valid passport. According to a message from the SMS service WhatsApp reported by NDR, an officer wrote:

"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."

In the second incident, which occurred in September, police arrested a 19-year-old Moroccan who was in the country legally after he failed to show a ticket on a regional train. The man was also taken to the station's police department, where he was tormented, NDR reports.

"(An officer) heard him squeal like a pig," another WhatsApp message reportedly read. "Then the bastard gobbled up the rotten pork leftovers in the refrigerator. Off the floor."

Pork is haram, or against Islamic law, for observant Muslims. And an officer on duty that day who told NDR that he had not force-fed the prisoner said the meat was days old, green even.

Another unnamed department insider told NDR there were often loud cries in the holding cells. "If it was too annoying then it wasn't checked. The door was just closed so the noise didn't make it out."

Police did not provide NDR with concrete details, but promised transparency in the investigation.

mkg/rc (dpa, AFP, ndr)

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