Jeremiah Duggan: Golders Green mother condemns German police for failure to investigate antisemitic links to Jewish son’s death
- Credit: Archant
The mother of a Jewish student from Golders Green found dead on a motorway 15 years ago has demanded to know why German police refuse to investigate an antisemitic cult’s links to the death.
On March 27, 2003 Jeremiah Duggan was hit by two cars on an Autobahn near the city of Wiesbaden, about 40 minutes after he telephoned his mother in fear for his life.
His family has campaigned for 15 years to overturn the original findings of suicide by German authorities.
In the days leading up to his death the 22-year-old student, from Golders Green, had attended a youth conference hosted by the Schiller Institute, a think-tank of far right group LaRouche.
They believe Jeremiah was trying to get away from the LaRouche cult in the hours before he died.
They say there is evidence to show the organisation believed he was “a spy and a traitor” because he was Jewish, British and had questioned its ideology.
His mother Erica Duggan told the Ham&High: “Jeremiah phoned me in the early hours of the morning asking to be rescued from danger. This was shortly before his dead body was found on the road. I heard someone trying to stop him and then the phone was cut.
“It is a scandal that after all these years the Wiesbaden prosecutor refuses even to interview me.”
Authorities have now closed the case into Jeremiah’s death for a second time, saying: “There is not sufficient suspicion against any person.”
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It comes after a highly unusual ruling in 2012 in which the Frankfurt Higher Court ordered the case should be reopened, based on new information that Jeremiah had been attacked.
The court’s ruling was critical of police inquiries, saying mistakes had been made and ordered a full and far reaching investigation into the case - including two named suspects.
The ruling said police and prosecutors should also examine the possibility of “collective harming” by LaRouche and whether this may have contributed to Jeremiah’s death.
A British inquest ruled in 2015 that Jeremiah did not commit suicide, and the coroner found the LaRouche movement “may have had a bearing” on his death.
Mrs Duggan’s legal team allege vital witnesses have still not been interviewed, contradictions in witness statements not followed up, and vital lines of inquiry ignored.
“There are allegations that (Jeremiah) may have been beaten and chased by members of this right-wing organisation, but the prosecution did not interview the potential suspects,” said attorney Serdar Kaya.
“The prosecution claims these individuals would use their right to remain silent and would not talk to the investigation.”
But he said this should not be used an excuse for police “not doing their job”.
Mrs Duggan is also critical of the decision to involve the original detective in the new inquiry, saying the “mindset of suicide has continued to blind the authorities”.
She denounced the new inquiry as an exercise in “moving papers around”, saying: “All they’re doing is justifying what happened in the beginning when they closed the case.”
The Ham&High has seen documents relating to the latest Wiesbaden police inquiry which show little evidence of the collective influence of LaRouche being investigated.
They also show conflicting testimony about where Jeremiah was on the night before he died.
Former German state official Ursula Caberta, an expert on cults, has backed calls for the case to stay open.
She was told by the mother of a man described as a LaRouche bodyguard that Jeremiah was “hunted down” when the group became suspicious of him.
But she was not interviewed in the latest police inquiry.
Jeremiah’s mother says she is sickened by the German authorities’ seeming unwillingness to investigate the LaRouche movement.
“Questions will be raised about why a political cult with its European headquarters in Wiesbaden, extensively documented as inciting hatred and spreading antisemitic and anti-British conspiracy theories throughout the world, is apparently granted immunity by the German state,” she said.
The Ham&High contacted the LaRouche organisation for comment but did not receive a reply.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office in Wiesbaden confirmed the case has been closed.
Spokesman Oliver Kuhn said: “From the witness questionings and other investigations, there were no clear indications of verbal or physical disputes or attacks that could be brought in connection with the death.
“Other promising inquiry attempts are not evident.”
During a press conference in Berlin last Wednesday, Mrs Duggan announced she will contest the decision.
She told the Ham&High: “My son’s life was stolen from him and somehow I can’t let his death go without it being investigated to find out what really happened.”