Amir Abdur Rehman Cheema

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Amir Abdur Rehman Cheema (Jan 7, 1978 – May 3, 2006) (Urdu: عامر عبد الرحمن چیمہ) was a 28-year-old Pakistani textile engineering student who entered the offices of the German daily newspaper Die Welt on March 20, 2006 with a large knife and attempted to murder Roger Köppel. Cheema was later arrested by building security guards.[1][2][3] He admitted his intent was to kill Roger Köppel, an editor at the paper, for reprinting the Jyllands-Posten cartoons of Muhammad. On May 3, while awaiting trial and in German police custody, he was found dead in his cell.[4]

Pakistanis questioned the German's official version of the story.[5] While rumors spread after his death that he was tortured in the German prison, the German authorities produced a suicide note for Pakistan's foreign office.[6] In the course of the investigation, the German judicial system concluded his death was a suicide.[7] However, a team of nine senior FIA officials from Pakistan concluded that signs of foul-play were present and his death was due to torture.German authorities' extended half-hearted cooperation towards Pakistani investigators and denied access to vital evidence when the latter visited Berlin in the month of May to verify the cause of Aamir's death. Additional Director General FIA (Federal Investigational Agency) Tariq Khosa told the senate committee few days later, that Cheema's hands were tied and the main vein of his heart was cut off, which clearly indicated that the Pakistani national was murdered.

Aamir's father, Nazeer Cheema and his family members refused to accept "the fabricated suicidal killing". According to his parents, Aamir was a devout Muslim, committed to his religious beliefs and tenets and thus it was beyond his mind to terminate his life in a prohibited way of Islam. According to Aamir's maternal uncle and father of the victim, he had a passion towards martyrdom. If he had contemplated suicide, why would he delay so long? German police ended his life by subjecting him to inhuman torture during interrogation. Cheema's father narrated that his son was not produced before the court even after 90 days of his arrest. Therefore, there was no logic of keeping him under arrest without any charges. His initial hearing was due in next four days which would have exposed German police's torture, hence he was killed, he further said. The German police never allowed any single person to view the dead body.


Amir Cheema was the only son of his parents. He had three sisters. He was an engineer by vocation who had gone to Germany for higher studies in Nov 2004 and he had paid his last visit to Pakistan in Oct 2005.


Cheems's death elicited a strong note of protests from students, political and religious parties back in home. Despite a robust protest by the parliament and civil society, Government of Pakistan lodged no official protest against Germany, a country that prides its human rights record in the post-Nazi era.


Initially Germany refused to hand over Amir's body but upon growing public sympathy in Pakistan, it was repatriated to the town of Saroki near the city of Wazirabad, in Punjab on Saturday 13 May 2006. A flood of people from all shades of life were present when the dead body of the slain Pakistani student arrived at his ancestral town. There was a great deal of dispute over the funeral prayers as everyone aspired to clinch the honors. Ultimately, Aamir's father was chosen. About 30,000-100,000 people attended his funeral despite the blistering heat soaring over 50 degree Celsius.[8][9][10][11] About as many people missed the funeral as it took place three hours earlier than the announced time.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pakistani found dead in German jail". Al Jazeera English. May 5, 2006. Retrieved 2013-05-11. 
  2. ^ Gebauer, Matthias; Musharbash, Yassin (May 5, 2006). "Karikaturenstreit: Selbstmord nach versuchtem Angriff auf Chefredakteur der "Welt"". Retrieved 2013-05-11. 
  3. ^ "". Retrieved 2013-05-11. 
  4. ^ "Leading News Resource of Pakistan". Daily Times. 2006-05-13. Retrieved 2013-05-11. 
  5. ^ "Reservations over Cheema death report". May 20, 2006. Retrieved 2013-05-11. 
  6. ^ "Berlin gives Amir’s suicide note to FO". May 9, 2006. Retrieved 2013-05-11. 
  7. ^ Published on 06/05/2006 01:06 (06/05/2006). "Man suspected of cartoons revenge plot kills himself". Retrieved 2013-05-11.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ "South Asia | Huge crowds at Pakistani funeral". BBC News. 2006-05-13. Retrieved 2013-05-11. 
  9. ^ "Thousands mourn Pakistani student - Archive". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2013-05-11. 
  10. ^ "Amir Cheema’s dead body to reach Lahore airport". PakTribune. May 13, 2006. Retrieved 2013-05-11. 
  11. ^ "Amir Cheema’s dead body to reach Lahore airport". Retrieved 2013-05-11.