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Board of Deputies of British Jews calls for foreign secretary to 'urgently' intervene in Jeremiah Duggan case

PUBLISHED: 13:13 28 May 2015 | UPDATED: 13:45 28 May 2015

Jeremiah Duggan, pictured with his sister Louisa, died on an autobahn in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 2003

Jeremiah Duggan, pictured with his sister Louisa, died on an autobahn in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 2003

Archant

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has called on foreign secretary Philip Hammond to intervene as a "matter of urgency" to ensure a new independent investigation into Jeremiah Duggan's death in Germany.

"We call on the foreign secretary to raise this case immediately at the highest levels"

Jonathan Arkush, president-elect of the Board of Deputies

The board criticised the “failure of the authorities” to deal with the Jewish student’s death in Wiesbaden in 2003 with the “thoroughness that such a serious incident deserves” and said that “serious questions remain to be answered”.

It comes as Jeremiah’s mother Erica Duggan called on British police to step in and work with the German authorities in a bid to find answers.

A British coroner ruled last week the 22-year-old’s death was not suicide following a new UK inquest, overturning the official findings of the authorities in Wiesbaden following his death.

Jeremiah's mother Erica Duggan has called on the British Police to step in and work with German authorities. Picture: Nigel SuttonJeremiah's mother Erica Duggan has called on the British Police to step in and work with German authorities. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Jeremiah, from Golders Green, had been attending a youth conference at the Schiller Institute in Wiesbaden, the think-tank of anti-Semitic far-right wing organisation LaRouche, in the days before he died.

The German high court ordered prosecutors to reopen the case in 2012 but Jeremiah’s family have no confidence in the new investigation which is being handled by the same police officer who carried out the original police reports.

Jonathan Arkush, president-elect of the Board of Deputies, said: “In light of this latest inquest we call on the foreign secretary to raise this case immediately at the highest levels with the Germany authorities and to ensure that a full and proper independent investigation is launched as a matter of urgency into the incident itself, the behaviour of the Schiller Institute and the failure of the authorities to address Mr Duggan’s death with the thoroughness that such a serious incident deserves.”

The German investigation

The family of Jeremiah Duggan have been fighting for 12 years for the German authorities to reopen the investigation into his death.

They won a victory in December 2012 when the German Higher Court ruled the Wiesbaden authorities’ investigation was flawed and ordered a new inquiry, which has only happened three or four times in German legal history.

The family have no confidence in this investigation as it is overseen by the policeman who ran the original inquiry.

The family’s German lawyer Serdar Kaya said: “After Jerry died there was something like an investigation, there was a report from a policeman and the conclusion that Jeremiah committed suicide. Then after three months, and 73-pages, they closed the case. Our client is still fighting against this decision.”

The Institute of Race Relations said there had been a “manifest failure” by the German authorities to support the Duggan family.

Director Liz Fekete said: “Why is it that an organisation like LaRouche was not considered an organisation that you would be concerned and worried by. That inability to take the family’s concerns about LaRouche seriously is equivalent to a downplaying of anti-Semitism and therefore an aspect of institutionalised racism.”

Ms Duggan called on the British police “to do what they should have done ages ago and present to German police the evidence that Jeremiah’s death was not suicide and to find out what led to his death”.

“I will not be giving up trying to get justice for Jeremiah and I will be exploring other ways to do it,” she said. “I would like to feel that Jeremiah’s legacy would be to raise awareness of the dangers and threats of extremist groups.”

A foreign and commonwealth office spokesman said: “We are in contact with the German authorities on this case at a senior level. We will continue to raise Jeremiah’s case where appropriate.”

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