Home » Strasbourg 2002  


Watch also...



Monday, August 26 in Strasbourg, the 17 activists who had occupied an office of the ministry of justice on Friday the 23 were brought before the correctional tribunal for immediate trial, after a prolonged period in the poiice station and being placed in detention at the Strasbourg jail. The number of defendants being too large for the ordinary courtroom to be used, the hearing was held in the room of the higher court. As with every trial concerning Noborder activists or their support committee, the entry to the courtroom was partially blocked, turning the hearing into a closed audience by default if not by law.

The attempted repression to which these activists were subjected is a perfect illustration of that which they denounced via their action on friday: the persecution of the No Border activists, to which Ahmed's continued isolation and denial of visits bears witness. The court and the Strasbourg police, zealous executors of the total-security policy of the State, have tried by all means available to prevent the protests of the No Border camp and then tried to systematically criminalize them. The list of their intimidations and demands is currently so long that it becomes difficult to cite them all: rubber bullets shot from a potentially deadly distance, the general prohibition on all demonstrations (or even gatherings of people) by police decree, the violent arrests (around fifty) and multiple detentions in the police station, charges pressed against six activists, the imprisonment and sentencing of Ahmed on the basis of a few incoherent police testimonies and his intolerable conditions of detention...

The most recent example of this persecution: the prosecutor is appealing Ahmed's sentence. We've already shown how fantastic the charges against the 17 demonstrators: they're accused of having "kidnapped" the employees who were perfectly free to leave, and who only stayed in the office on the orders of their superiors. The local prosecutor, present on site to order the assault by ski-masked GIPN police, quickly spread the word through the press that he would charge them with "hostage taking," even though the witnesses present on site, including journalists, had just stated that nothing had happened: the articles that appeared in the local press have sufficiently demonstrated that. During the hearing; the employees amply confirmed the defendants' version of events: at no time did the defendants attempt to hold them against their will. As far as the accusations of "breaking and entering of a private residence," the defense lawyers showed, as they had with the charge of kidnaping, that the charges were baseless (unless the judge found that the employees of the ministry of justice had chosen the office as their private residence...)

These accustations, newly added to the classic list of charges, "insulting an officer," "resisting arrest," etc. that usually follow police interventions, seek to create a judicial precendent so as to justify a multiplication of the number of imprisoned demonstrators, and to leave the State with the opportunity to condemn them heavily. The prosecutor clearly showed this during the hearing by declaring that it was necessary to put a stop to this kind of political action. It is therefore explicitly in the name of the political necessity to repress all dissent that the court requested jail time for the 17 demonstrators (one month in jail, three months of parole). If these ridiculous reasons for sentencing come from the sick imagination of the local assistant prosecutor, the desire to criminalize is a real state policy that goes far beyond the context of Strasbourg.

The court finally declared itself incompetent in regard to the verification of the accusations. After such a clear dissimulation (there is no better way to say how badly the prosecutor had screwed up) the court finally agreed to release the 17 hostages that it had held since Friday night. Remember that they had all the same spent two nights in a police station and one night in prison for imaginary offenses. Finally, three demonstrators who were outside the Justice Ministry on Friday were also arrested under particularly violent conditions, held in the police station for 24 hours, and will be called before a court next year, the 20th of March.

As always, we demand the immediate liberation of Ahmed Meguini, and we demand that all charges against participants of the No Border Camp and their support committees be dropped.

[Support Committee for Ahmed and the other defendants, No Border in exodus,
Monday August 26, 8:30 pm]