Guantanamo in Germany: Inhumane Treatment of Accused

Press Release 24 August
The persons charged in the §129a (anti-terrorism) proceedings were severely beaten during their arrest and are being treated like Guantanamo prisoners. Special detention conditions at Berlin's Moabit prison involve solitary confinement.
On 31/07/2007 Oliver R., Axel H. and Florian L. were arrested after allegedly attempting to set fire to three German Army vehicles. Only now it has transpired that they experienced severe assaults during the arrest. The accused are still being detained in extreme conditions. With sacks over their heads on the road
The three men were arrested in a what appeared to be a dramatic hold-up. Their lawyers have recounted how with lightning speed the road was blocked and their car was ground to halt. The windows of the car were smashed and they were dragged out of the car, consequently suffering cuts on various parts of their bodies. Florian L.?s lawyer has stated that he was severely beaten whilst still sitting in the car with his seatbelt on. His face and rib injuries had to be treated in hospital.
Sacks were pulled over the heads of the arrested men and all three were forced to put on thin white plastic overalls. They were then left lying on the road for a very long time with their hands tied behind their backs. In a media spectacle the next day the three men and the later arrested sociologist Dr Andrej H., who was accused of researching issues such as ?gentrification? in connection with preparations for the anti-G8 protests in June this year, were flown by helicopter to the Supreme Court in Karlsruhe. There they were brought before a judge in their torn overalls. Only after the lawyers complained were they given normal clothes to wear. Detention in isolation
Regardless of the fact that none of the accused have any previous convictions and all live in stable social conditions, the judge ordered they be kept in custody under special conditions. The prisoners are held in isolation for 23 hours a day in a six to eight square metre cell with a toilet and sink with only cold water. The lack of hygiene is evident. At least one of the prisoners was not allowed to shower for the first week of imprisonment. The reason given was his isolation could not be guaranteed in the washroom. Another term of their imprisonoment is that their lawyers can only speak with their clients through a partition. Last Thursday Axel H. was granted a first family visit. This took place in the presence of three police officers. To call this scenario a ?visit? is despicable. The right of the seven year old boy to visit his father was not upheld at all. The boy and the child?s mother had to sit at a large table whereby a 30cm tall glass partition prevented any kind of affectionate greeting. Two police officers sat on either side of Axel H. and a third one sat next to Axel H.?s son. The boy was not allowed to hug his father or touch him. Due to this intimidating atmosphere the boy was not able to speak at all.

Release of Dr. Andrej H.
On the afternoon of 22 August 2007, Dr. Andrej H. was released from Berlin Moabit prison on bail. Christina Clemm, his lawyer, has stated: ?The arrest warrant has not been suspended, the judge in the proceedings ordered my client?s release on bail with a number of conditions. This means that according to the judge the risk of my client absconding can be contained with less severe measures than custody. The prosecution has informed me that they have appealed against this decision, although at this point I am not able to give any more information. My client will not be giving any interviews at this moment in time.?

We demand the immediate release of the prisoners, that the § 129a proceedings be stopped and that §§ 129, 129a and 129b be abolished. [Coalition for the immediate end to the § 129a proceedings]

Notes to the editors:
1. On July 31st 2007 Florian L, Axel H., Oliver R. and Andrej H. were arrested and charged with membership in a terrorist organisation, ”militante gruppe” [militant group, or “mg”]. The connection between the persons accused of the alleged arson attack on German Army vehicles and the sociologist Dr. Andrej H., as well as two further academics whose homes and workplaces were searched without this resulting in their arrest is based upon the accusation that the academics were researching similar issues, such as ?gentrification? and ?precarity?, as the ones mentioned in statements supposedly published by the mg. This is provided as a reason for the accusation that the academics are the intellectual heads of the mg. Furthermore, Dr. Andrej H. allegedly met up with one of the men accused of the arson attack, although the state prosecution cannot provide any information about what may have been discussed in this meeting. For further information in English, see:

2. These legal constructs are heavily contested as ?adventurous and to be rejected? by broad sections of German society and social movements. On an international level, academics have voiced their protest in letters to the state prosecution. In connection with the raids on 9th May 2007, whereby the homes of 18 alleged anti-G8 campaigners were searched, a coalition has formed to demand the abolition of the German anti-terrorist legislation paragraphs 129, 129a and 129b. They argue that this legislation is being used as part of a wider attack on civil liberties in order to closely observe and intimidate social movements in Germany. For further information in English and other languages, see also

3. The legislation §§ 129, 129a and 129b refer to a set of laws in which those charged are alleged to be members of a “criminal association”. 129a refers specifically to membership in an alleged terrorist group with political motivations. 129b refers groups outside of Germany. Critics argue that this legislation is so vague, it actually exists merely to create a basis for extensive surveillance and information gathering on different sections of society when deemed necessary by the authorities.