20-year-old dies in Kapo custody – “There was neither an apology nor an admission of error”

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Kilian S. died on Christmas in a Bern police station. Now the family of the deceased is going public for the first time.

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A memorial has stood in front of the orphanage police station in Bern since the end of 2018.

Photo: Facebook

Kilian S. was found dead in his cell on December 26th.

Kilian S. was found dead in his cell on December 26th.

Photo: Keystone

The 20-year-old was picked up by the police after a Goa party.  He was into party drugs and on himself.

The 20-year-old was picked up by the police after a Goa party. He was into party drugs and on himself.

  • Kilian S. died on Christmas in a police station in Bern.

  • The 20-year-old was in poor health due to drug use.

  • The doctor present decided that Kilian S. did not have to go to a hospital. However, that morning he was found dead in his cell.

  • The case is currently in federal court.

  • Now Kilian S.’s sister is going public.

“I do not want to press on the lacrimal gland and stage myself as a victim,” says Laura S. in an interview with the “Berner Zeitung”. But she would like to correct the image of her brother, that of a “Drogeler”, which the public has at its disposal. Voices that said that he didn’t have his life under control, that he was to blame for his death – hurt too much.

Her brother, Kilian S., was 20 years old when he died in police custody on Christmas morning 2019. He had used drugs at a party that evening – but Laura S. knew that he often did not take drugs. This was also confirmed by a coroner. Kilian did not consume regularly, nor was he dependent. In the media coverage, however, the drug consumption of the 20-year-old was in the foreground. Laura S. says that “a young man who is obviously in poor health is dying in a police station,” says Laura S. She wonders: How can something like this happen in Switzerland?

It is the first time that the family has publicly commented on the incident: “There was never an apology or the admission that mistakes had happened”, says Laura S. The family does not want any financial compensation. She wants to be certain that something like this will never happen again. S. does not condemn any individual, as she told the newspaper: “I also have no grudge against the police. Some of them only execute and are ‘armi Sieche’. ” She refers to the deficiency of the system: “The state has not taken its responsibility and does not want to continue to do so.”

Lonely death at Christmas

On December 25, 2019, after a party in Tscharnergut in the early morning, Kilian S. was picked up by a police patrol and taken to a police station. The doctor present had to decide: either Kilian S. would be brought to a special monitoring station in the Inselspital or to the police station, on the condition that someone checked on the 20 year old every two hours. On the morning of December 26th, Kilian S. was found dead in the cell.

A memorial was erected on Waisenhausplatz. The family mourned. The authorities started the investigation. The trial – the doctor was accused of negligent homicide – was discontinued in the spring of last year. Laura S., her family, the lawyer – they resisted, filed a complaint. Nevertheless, the doctor was also acquitted by the Board of Appeal of the Higher Court of Justice.

Case could land in Strasbourg

Reason for acquittal: The forensic medicine institute at the University of Bern carried out an expert opinion which showed that hospitalization would only have saved Kilian S. “possibly”. That would not have been enough for a conviction. At the moment the case is before the federal court. It is already clear: If you get a negative decision, the case should be brought before the international European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

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