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Mother criticises German ‘state failure’ to investigate Jewish son’s death and links to anti-Semitic cult

PUBLISHED: 10:02 08 July 2015 | UPDATED: 10:20 08 July 2015

Erica Duggan criticised the German 'state failure' to investigate her son's death at a press conference in Berlin

Erica Duggan criticised the German 'state failure' to investigate her son's death at a press conference in Berlin

Archant

The mother of a Jewish student who died in mysterious circumstances in Germany has criticised the “state failure” to investigate her son’s death - as she demanded a new independent inquiry.

"There has been state failure to address the fact that there is a continuing danger in Germany of a dangerous organisation that incites hatred against the Jews and the British"

Erica Duggan

Erica Duggan’s 12-year fight to discover what happened to her son Jeremiah in the hours before his death on a motorway in Wiesbaden has been backed by members of the German parliament, the Bundestag.

Golders Green student Jeremiah, 22, had attended a conference hosted by the far-right wing organisation LaRouche and called his mother in fear for his life 30 minutes before he died in March 2003.

Last month a British coroner overturned the original findings of the German authorities and ruled that Jeremiah did not commit suicide.

At a press conference in Berlin last week, his mother called on authorities to take account of the British coroner’s findings and set up a “wide-ranging, unbiased investigation as a matter of urgency”.

British student Jeremiah Duggan was found dead on a motorway in Wiesbaden in 2003British student Jeremiah Duggan was found dead on a motorway in Wiesbaden in 2003

She said: “The UK court’s verdict is of importance in declaring the death was not suicide as initially pronounced by the German authorities.

“The view that Jeremiah’s death was suicide has for many years provided justification for the failure of the Wiesbaden authorities to properly investigate this death.”

German Bundestag member Hans-Christian Ströbele criticised the years of delay and spoke out in strong support of the campaign.

Fellow Bundestag member Volker Beck has written to the Hessen minister of justice to demand an explanation.

Jeremiah Duggan with his girlfriend Maya VillanuevaJeremiah Duggan with his girlfriend Maya Villanueva

Jeremiah was studying in Paris when his family claim he was lured to Germany ostensibly to take part in a peace conference linked to the start of the Iraq War.

But in reality he was at a LaRouche conference aimed at recruiting him to the political cult.

In the days before his death he became worried by LaRouche’s anti-British and anti-Semitic stance and the British coroner said his involvement “may have put him at risk from members of the organisation”.

His family say the death was instantly dismissed by German police as suicide and was never properly investigated.

Mother Erica Duggan has called for a new independent inquiry into her son's death in Germany. Picture: Nigel SuttonMother Erica Duggan has called for a new independent inquiry into her son's death in Germany. Picture: Nigel Sutton

No witness statements were taken, there was no forensic post mortem of the body, and Jeremiah’s clothes were removed and burned.

An extremely rare order was made by the Frankfurt High Court that the case should be properly investigated in 2012.

But the Duggan family has no faith in the process as it is led by the same policeman who oversaw the original investigation.

“There has been state failure to address the fact that there is a continuing danger in Germany of a dangerous organisation that incites hatred against the Jews and the British,” said his mother.

I now hope that the good people in Germany and their politicians will do something to improve their judicial system that still has not brought about Justice for my son.”

Jeremiah is buried in an unmarked grave in Highgate Cemetery, not far from the tomb of Karl Marx.

His mother, “flat broke” from years of applying to courts and governments in Britain and Germany, has not yet been able to afford a headstone for her son.

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