Senate and Bremen parliament

In Bremen, the Senate and the Bürgerschaft attempted to avoid discussion throughout the entire duration of the administration of emetics. “I did not want to reach the public,” was how Henning Scherf (SPD), as the responsible senator of justice, put it as early as 1996  in one of the few public speeches in the Bürgerschaft. After the death of Achidi John in Hamburg in 2001, the ruling coalition SPD/CDU in Bremen refused to approve a motion by Bündnis90/Die Grünen to immediately stop the compulsory allocation After the killing of Mr. Condé in 2005, the same coalition did decide to suspend compulsory administration for the time being. However, in the parliamentary debate on the motion of no confidence against Interior Senator Röwekamp (CDU), Mayor Scherf linked its continuation to a vote on his own political office, the progress of the government of the day and Bremen’s financial future in federal political negotiations. Röwekamp, who had come under heavy public criticism, remained interior senator, while Scherf remained mayor.

The Senate’s response to an inquiry by the Green Party on the frequency  and circumstances surrounding the use of emetics also secured some basic facts in 2005.

For a long time, there were no further steps on the part of the executive to come to terms with its years of state violence. The parliament refused even longer than individual government representatives. While Mayor Böhrnsen (SPD) addressed Mr. Condé’s family in a letter in 2014, the SPD parliamentary group refused in the same year to introduce a motion by its coalition partner Bündnis’90/Die Grünen (Alliance 90/The Greens) to come to terms with the period of emetic torture.

However, in its response to a major inquiry by the Green Party in 2018, the Bremen Senate also viewed the use of emetics in retrospect as a legitimate legal and governmental procedure: “Until the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, the use of compulsory emetics was considered legally permissible in several German states. An assessment according to which the compulsory use of emetics during the entire period of the measure was to be regarded as unlawful state violence is not available to the Senate.”

In response to this Senate response, the Initiative in Memory of Laye Alama Condé published a detailed statement.

It was not until the debate on this major inquiry in 2018 that not only the speakers of the parliamentary groups of the Left and the Greens, but also of the SPD and the CDU distanced themselves from the time of the emetic torture.

Finally, at the end of 2020, the Bremen parliament came to a comprehensive reassessment of its own actions in a motion by the SPD, Bündnis‘90/Die Grünen (The Green Party) and the Linke (Left), which in the meantime jointly formed the government: “The Bürgerschaft (state parliament) is aware of its own responsibility for having allowed the inhumane and degrading treatment for years. It asks forgiveness for this from all those affected, and especially from the bereaved families of Laye-Alama Condé.”

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