Author Topic: JUSTICE MADE IN EUROPE  (Read 868 times)

Offline cooljoe

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JUSTICE MADE IN EUROPE
« on: July 11, 2009, 04:18:26 PM »
Call it mistaken identity or racism or arrogance of the justice ministry,? December 18, 2002, is a day Kenneth Ehigiene will hardly forget. The Nigerian-born Dutch citizen said he was mistaken for a drug dealer and had to spend nearly eight months in a Dutch cell for a crime he was innocent of.

Ehigiene, a legitimate businessman, said it all came to him as a shock when the police arrested him over drug trafficking. ?I have never seen drugs before in my entire life. Whether it looks like analgesics I do not know,? he lamented on phone from the Netherlands to Saturday Sun.

He said though it has been long the incident happened he still lives with the harassment and embarrassment meted to him by both the Dutch and German governments who after almost seven years are yet to tender an apology or pay him compensation for the damage done to him, his family and business. ?It is just like yesterday,? he said.

Mistaken identity
?On December 18, 2002 around 7 in the morning, the doorbell woke me from a deep sleep. Half awake I went in my bathrobe to the door. When the bell rang hard and persistently for the second time, I knew there was something wrong. In front of the door were about eight policemen. They stormed into my house, pushed me against the wall and handcuffed me and then said; ?you are under arrest.? My wife, children and my mother were told to keep silent. ?You are a big drug dealer,? one the policemen said when I asked him their grounds of suspicion. ?You possess the Nigerian nationality? continued the police, already showing their prejudice by this statement ?You have the wrong person, I am Kenneth Ehigiene, I have the Dutch nationality and I am a businessman and I have nothing to do with drugs,? I said with broken voice. My hands were shaking. ?Interesting,? that was the only thing the police officer replied. My daughter watched how they took me away in handcuffs. Outside the door an even bigger surprise was waiting for me. The whole neighbourhood was closed to traffic. Like a top criminal I was taken away in a police car.

We drove to the police headquarters in Marnixstraat in Amsterdam where I was told to remove everything on me. Then they brought a paper they wanted me to sign. When I read through the paper, it addressed me as a Nigerian citizen. I then challenged them, because I have possessed Dutch citizenship since 1996 and I was never asked to renounce my Nigerian Nationality when I was about to be given the Dutch nationality.

Thus I have kept both ever since. I then thought, has my Dutch citizenship simply dissipated because I was accused of criminal and nefarious activities? On the other hand I believe if I had won a medal for the Netherlands, the story would have been completely different. I refused to sign the document; despite their insistence. I was later put in the cell. Three hours later, they called me out and I thought I was going to regain my freedom. I met two detectives and they said to me, ?well actually it is the Germans who are looking for you.

You are here for extradition to Germany.? And they handed me some papers regarding my detention. They said that they were going to give me a lawyer but I told them I had my own lawyer. That evening, my lawyer came and we discussed the case and he said he does not see any problem in getting me out on bail the next day.

Trial
The next day we went to court; I was certain this was a mistake and the investigating magistrate would rectify it. She said as a suspect, I was signalled at the Amsterdam Central Station, where I made some drug deals and that I was also a leader in an international drug syndicate responsible for transporting drugs from South America and Turkey to Europe. Furthermore, I got the shocker of my life when I was told that the prosecutor in Germany was asking for 15 years imprisonment - for a case I knew nothing about.

At a later stage in the case, I discovered that the whole case was based on a photograph of a certain man ? called Michael or Mike ? who does not in anyway look like me. A white sister in-law had seen Mike`s photo in a police compilation, and mentioned to the police that I was the one in the photo and that I lived in Amsterdam. The police on their part, prior to conducting a thorough investigation, started following me and they also tapped my telephone calls.

Shortly thereafter, they asked for my immediate arrest and extradition. I guess they were more than glad in wanting to solve their big drug case, and the fact that they had a blackman and a Nigerian, made it all too easy to disregard laid down procedures of identification and proper investigation, and try to clone me into their suspect. In the eyes of the police, I was now a major criminal, my movements in the prison were restricted. Speaking with my lawyer was a privilege; I was not allowed to go outside to get some fresh air, no contact with my family or fellow detainees. Christmas and New Year 2002 passed quietly.

The Germans had asked the Dutch authorities to send them a photo of mine. Actually, according to the law, the police should have made photos and finger prints during my arrest, but they didn?t. I also got to know that other arrests were made of the supposed members of my criminal organization. One of the persons arrested was the girlfriend of a drug trafficker in Germany who has a book to her credit.

Three months after my arrest the first suit came up. This was an open hearing. My family and friends could follow the session in the courtroom ? upstairs, behind bullet proof glass. I had collected 51 pieces of evidence showing that I could not have been in Turkey at the moment when Mike was dealing heroin in Antalya. I also had contracted a German lawyer who was fighting against the extradition in Germany. I told the Dutch judge that this was a misunderstanding, that I was not the person they were looking for. It even was physically impossible: I could not on the same day have had a meeting with my lawyer in his office, or trained in an Amsterdam gym, or sat for a Microsoft exam, while dealing drugs in Antalya. But the judge saw it differently: I could do all these things and then this Mike ? alias Kenneth Ehigiene ? could also jump on a plane to Turkey.

I begged the judge to compare my physical presence with the original coloured photo of Mike (which the German lawyer had brought in when he flew in from Germany that morning), so she could see the difference, but she refused to take a look. The Germans started the criminal proceedings, they can perform just as well-researched investigations like the Dutch. So the Dutch court refused to evaluate the case on its facts, contents or merit.

After the failure of the lower court, to correct this great anomaly and injustice, and thus allowed for my extradition, I then took the case to the Supreme Court. Despite the submission of the Prosecutor-General at the highest court, that this could be a case of mistaken identity, the apex court upheld the decision of the lower court. In Germany too, the German lawyer also lost all the cases to stop my extradition.

Now in a state of despair, I thought, ?Why were the Dutch so eager to extradite me to Germany? And why were the Germans so eager to have me? I had presented all evidences to disprove their claim that I was not the one in the photo, I had no other new evidence to add or show otherwise. I thought, if I was certainly going to get justice, it should be now and here, and not having to be extradited to Germany, to face the rigours of an already prejudiced investigation. Could this nightmare not come to an end? I thought.

Why travel a mile when you could get your solution within a radius? I could hardly sleep and all I thought was how on earth could I survive a jail term of 15 years for a crime I knew nothing about? I woke up in the middle of the nights shouting. I sometimes became breathless and got heart palpitations. The psychological malady and hysteria in me was out of proportion. I had arrived at a point where hope and desperation overcame me and I prayed to God that He answers me.

Breakthrough
Kenneth?s breakthrough came when he stumbled across a programme on television, where a German professor was carrying out a dialectic analysis of how Saddam Hussein could be disguised. This was when the Americans were busy looking for him in Iraq. The professor showed through computer aided features how Saddam could look or rather be disguised as. At this moment, Kenneth thought: This is just the man I need. Somebody who could compare my photo with that of Mike showing those computer dialectic features, that would eventually show the distinguishing features between Mike and myself, since all the judges so far in both countries refused to believe in my innocence. A good friend of Kenneth by name Regina Andresen, of Humanity Organisation in Germany, a human rights activist played not only a key role in locating the professor, but in the whole case till date. Hence, Kenneth refers to this German lady as his Guardian Angel.

The lady never stopped believing in Kenneth?s innocence right from the outset, despite the fact that she hardly knew Kenneth?s background. For her, it was just enough for three of Kenneth?s friends to say: Kenneth? Drugs? Impossible! He said this was simply the drive that sustained the lady?s passion in seeking justice till the end. She wrote series of petitions to the Justice Ministers in both countries, different organisations, wanting to show the mistake of the BKA (Bundeskriminalamt). This organisation is more or less like the FBI in America.

Unravelling mystery
The professor was eventually contacted through Regina, and he accepted to carry out the analysis, and came out with the only answer possible -100 percent certainty and sureness that the picture was not I. One would have thought the prosecutor?s office would have accepted their loss and rectified their mistake by releasing me immediately, but all to no avail. It was only after my German lawyer had filed a new application in the German court based on the new evidence, that the judge was forced to concede that indeed this could be a case of mistaken identity, and gave the prosecutor two months to ascertain the true identity of their suspect, even if it meant going down to the Netherlands to do this.

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JUSTICE MADE IN EUROPE
« on: July 11, 2009, 04:18:26 PM »

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Offline furtune

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Re: JUSTICE MADE IN EUROPE
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2009, 03:50:00 PM »
that is bad
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Re: JUSTICE MADE IN EUROPE
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2009, 03:50:00 PM »

 

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