(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
LONDON – After 12 years of fighting to find the truth about her son Jeremiah’s mysterious death, Erica Duggan has vowed to continue her struggle to discover the circumstances surrounding what she believes was the 22-year-old’s murder while attending a conference in Germany. A London inquest decided Friday that contrary to a previous ruling from the German authorities, Duggan did not commit suicide.
Jeremiah Duggan had attended a conference of the LaRouche German right-wing organization, just before being hit by two cars on a motorway in 2003. While studying English Literature at the Sorbonne in Paris, he had become increasingly concerned about the escalating conflict in Iraq and he had believed he was attending a youth anti-war gathering in Wiesbaden, in Germany’s Hesse state.
The court heard, however, that a left-wing message was used to lure him into the right-wing German cult meeting.
He had no hesitation identifying himself as a Jew, and his family remains convinced that this was probably connected with his subsequent death.
German police, who found his body on March 27, 2003, on the highway near the city where he had been hit by two cars, initially claimed he had “committed suicide by means of a traffic accident.”
However, dissatisfied with the German verdict, his north London family started an extensive campaign to have the initial decision overturned, with the British High Court agreeing in 2010 to allow a British coroners court to take its own evidence, culminating in Friday’s finding.
North London Coroner Andrew Walker said the student’s having told conference organizers he was Jewish “may have had a bearing on his death.” According to the inquest’s conclusions, the combination of the factors may have put Duggan “at risk from members of the [LaRouche] organization and caused him to be distressed.”
Walker dismissed theories that Duggan’s death had been “set up” with driver testimony suggesting that the student had run in front of the traffic.
There were, he added “a number of unexplained injuries” suggesting that there may have been an altercation at some stage before his death As the verdict was read out, Mrs. Duggan shouted, “Justice...
We want justice.”
In a statement issued after the verdict, the family said that pressure should now be put on the German authorities to “ensure this powerful and dramatic narrative verdict leads to a deeper investigation in the country where Jeremiah was killed, including the role played of the organization.”
The family added that it hoped his legacy would be that “the strong message that such extremist organizations exist which target university students for recruitment has been heard so that the dangers they pose can be avoided.”
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