The Vaud Prosecutor’s Office must reopen the investigation into the asylum seeker who died in his cell – rts.ch

The Vaud Prosecutor’s Office must reopen the investigation into the asylum seeker who died in his cell – rts.ch
The Vaud Prosecutor’s Office must reopen the investigation into the asylum seeker who died in his cell – rts.ch

The Cantonal Court cancels the classification order of the Vaud Public Prosecutor’s Office in the Lamin Fatty case, reveals the RTS Investigation Department. This 23-year-old Gambian lost his life after an epileptic attack filmed by a surveillance camera in the Blécherette prison area, but which went unnoticed.

It’s a “victory” for Lamin Fatty’s family. In a judgment dated May 31, 2024, of which the RTS Investigation Department took note, the Criminal Appeals Chamber of the Vaud Cantonal Court admits its appeal and asks prosecutor Ximena Paola Manriquez to review her copy.

For the judges, “although extensive and precise in many respects, the investigation did not make it possible to establish at least two aspects of the defendant’s activity which could prove decisive for the outcome of the criminal action” .

The prosecutor must therefore reopen her investigation into the security agent who was notably in charge of the surveillance cameras in the prison area of ​​the Blécherette cantonal police center on the day of the tragedy, October 24, 2017.

This “centralist”, as we say in the jargon, was being prosecuted for negligent homicide, but at the end of his investigation, the prosecutor estimated that he had played no “direct role and attributable to fault in the tragic outcome “. She reported a death due to “a chain of unfortunate circumstances”.

>> Reread: Migrant wrongly arrested and died in cell, Vaud prosecutor’s office closes case

Reconstitution envisaged

At the request of the judges, she will have to further her education. “It is unknown where exactly the defendant was during the critical 71 seconds of the epileptic seizure,” they write. “We do not know if he was then at his workstation in front of a screen or if he was busy managing an arrival or departure of a detainee, or even if he was dedicated to yet another task. A reconstruction, for example, would have made it possible to determine more precisely the tasks then carried out by the accused.”

According to the Cantonal Court, we must also be interested in the “number of detainees present” at Blécherette during the tragedy. Information allowing a better understanding of the workload of the centralist.

A delve into its specifications would also help to have a precise idea of ​​“the share of activity devoted to the supervision of detainees”.

Leaders heard?

That’s not all. The judges consider that the classification order “does not mention whether the accused acted in accordance with the directives and rules of the art imposed by his hierarchical superiors, in particular with regard to knowing what the possible standards are in terms of surveillance of detained in a prison area.

The answer to this question can be found by “hearing the people in charge of organizing the surveillance”.

The judges therefore ask the Public Prosecutor’s Office “to carry out any further useful investigation in this regard before ruling again”.

Family satisfaction

Lawyer for Lamin Fatty’s family, Me Christophe Tafelmacher, says he is “very satisfied” with the cancellation of the classification order. “We still hope that we can arrive, in the short term, at a referral to court and a public trial.”

For the lawyer, the centralist “must be held accountable. I believe that he was inattentive, that he did not complete his work. He should have called for help. And according to the doctors forensic experts, if there had been an immediate reaction, it would have been possible to avoid death.”

Lawyer for the centralist, Me Stefan Disch notes that the judgment of the Cantonal Court orders further investigation, “but at no time does it indicate that my client has committed an offense and should be indicted”.

The criminal lawyer also emphasizes that “the Cantonal Court expressly notes that the central officer has a multitude of tasks. These include access controls, telephones, keeping a diary. Finally, the surveillance of cells by cameras is a small part of his activity is a lot for one man.

The ball is now in the court of prosecutor Ximena Paola Manriquez. At the end of its further investigation, it will be able to confirm its classification order, considering that the accused has not committed anything criminally reprehensible, or draw up an indictment so that he can be tried for negligent homicide.

Fabiano Citroni, RTS Investigation Department

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