international bordercamp strasbourg

Judicial finagling: will the prosecutor wipe his feet on the flag?

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30.Nov.99 - Today two trials took place linked to the repression of the No Border Camp and its follow-up. The camp took place in Strasbourg from July 19-28 2003, and focussed on the themes of freedom of movement and freedom of residence -- right to come, right to go, right to stay -- the reusal of social control, and of the Schengen Informaiton System, which is based in Strasbourg.

This time, the court was not subject to a police siege, in contrast with former "No Border" trials; the riot police didn't block the door, the public was not prevented from entering, neither were members of the audience searched nor did they have their ID confiscated. Those exceptional conditions had been the subject of a report by the League for Human Rights after the trial of the "17" (who were judged for an occupation of the Strasbourg branch office of the Ministry of Justice).

Besides the two "No Border" trials, a few other cases were dealt with that morning. It was startling to realize that the more one displays a privileged social background, the more the court shines down its benevolence and attentive listening. The first of the two "No Border" trials concerned a participant of the camp, a carpenter in his home country, who had come to participate in the set-up of the camp, including public infrastructure: wodden domes, eco-friendly dry toilets, electrical equipment, etc. His van had been searched, and the tools and building material inside (a hammer, electrical cables, etc.) had been classified by the police as "6th-class weapons".

The second case concerned two young Germans arrested after the demonstration on July 21st was broken up. Even though they are completely hopeless at gymnastics (evidence provided by the defense) they are charged with having climbed up two five-meter poles , and having managed to yank off two flags, which they proceeded to savagely destroy!

The verdicts will be given on March 11 2003. In these two cases, as in all the No Border trials, we see a certain number of points in common: a total absence of proof for the accusation, sometimes going as far as the destruction of sealed records on orders of the public ministry; an unquestioning acceptance of the statements and the conduct of the police; a total disregard for the testimony of the defendants (who were repeatedly prevented from speaking); a systematic reproach of the defendants for having used their right to remain silent; a tendency to attribute to the defendants intentions that they did not have, etc.

To what may we attribute such similarities between all these casers? To the spirit of the Law on Daily Security and all the "security" laws surrounding it (let us not forget the law against insulting a flag or the national anthem)? To the government's desirt to destroy all forms of dissent other than the conventional ones such as unions and lobbying? Or to a "preventative repression" that aims to prevent the No Border camp from becoming an example for other activists to follow?

Around these trials unfolds a week of international actions to support the defendants and against social control, from February 22 to 28, 2003. Let us also remember the verdict of the appeals hearing of the 17, on February 27, 2003. On March 20th, three people arrested during the 17 activists' occupation of the Ministry of Justice will come to trial for insulting an officer and resisting arrest.

We demand that all charges and convictions against all defendants be dropped immediately.

We will not be terrorized.

il-legal team