#FreeTheRoszke11: Justice for #AhmedH – Fundraising for Defense Lawyer

In a case that Amnesty International has called an “affront to justice”, Ahmed H., a Syrian with residency in Cyprus, has been charged with violating anti-terrorism laws for participating in a protest in Röszke, Hungary, during September 2015.

ahmedh

Originally published Generosity.

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of  these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

#FreeTheRoszke11: Justice for #AhmedH – Fundraising for Defense Lawyer

In a case that Amnesty International has called an “affront to justice”, Ahmed H., a Syrian with residency in Cyprus, has been charged with violating anti-terrorism laws for participating in a protest in Röszke, Hungary, during September 2015.

You can donate: here.

The protest occurred after Hungarian police suddenly and forcefully closed the border between Hungary and Serbia, trapping hundreds of refugees and migrants who were traveling along the Balkan route to seek asylum in Northern Europe. Ahmed, who has now been imprisoned in Hungary for two years, was sentenced to 10 years of prison in 2016 in proceedings which activists and observers described as a “show trial”. Thankfully, Ahmed’s family was able to secure a new lawyer and appeal the verdict, and the initial trial was thrown out. Now, the trial goes back to the first instance court in October 2017 and we have the chance to support Ahmed and his family’s struggle for a fair trial and justice.

Ahmed, who has EU residency in Cyprus and was therefore legally in Hungary at the time of his arrest, had undertaken the dangerous and difficult journey from Turkey to assist his family, including his elderly parents, who were fleeing Syria. When the family, after having made the dangerous journey over sea and land, reached Hungary, they realised the border had been closed just the night before. They joined the hundreds of other refugees and migrants stuck on the border in requesting from the Hungarian police to let them pass. Ahmed was arrested for using a megaphone and throwing three stones during the protest which ensued. 

The government of Hungary has been widely criticized for recent xenophobic actions that target migrants. The case of Ahmed H. has been a flagship of the government’s efforts to scapegoat refugees and migrants as terrorists. Applying vaguely formulated anti-terrorism laws to minor offenses such as throwing stones as an instrument to silence protest opens the door to further arbitrary arrests and has implications way beyond the tragic destruction of one, Ahmed H.’s, life.

We try to support Ahmed with enough money to be able to pay for a good lawyer. We demand freedom for Ahmed H. and want to support him and his family in the struggle against the politically motivated persecution by the Hungarian government.

Need for defense lawyer

Although Ahmed’s case has received a lot of international attention by big human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, EU institutions such as the European Parliament and the European Commission, and by the US Department of State, attention alone is not enough and has not helped the family to cover the essential lawyer costs. 

Unfortunately there is no pro bono lawyer with sufficient knowledge to defend Ahmed in front of the court in Hungary. This is why Ahmed had to hire a private lawyer, who charges a total fee of 15000€ for the upcoming trial. Ahmed H.’s family is not able to cover those expenses, as his wife has been supporting their 2 young children alone since Ahmed’s imprisonment.

Without being able to pay, there is the risk that Ahmed will not have a defense lawyer who knows his case. We won’t leave Ahmed and his family alone with those expenses. Let’s stand in solidarity and help them cover the costs for the lawyer!

Background

On September 15th, 2015, the Hungarian government closed the border to Serbia and – from one day to the other – made it illegal by criminal law to cross into Hungary. Hundreds of people got stuck at the Röszke-Horgoš border crossing without legal information or support. The situation got more and more tense until protest started and escalated with protesters throwing stones and police massively using tear gas. Ahmed H. participated in the protest against the border closure by communicating as one of several people between the police and the crowd with a megaphone – saying things like “please open the border” and “we are getting impatient here” – and throwing three stones at the police. Together with ten other people (altogether commonly referred to as the Röszke 11) he was randomly picked out and arrested in the police operation. But, unlike the others he is not accused of “participation in a mass riot” and “border violation”, but of “terrorism and other crimes”. This charge is exclusively based on his use of a megaphone and participation in throwing stones.

The previous trial hearings have shown that the biased questions and selection of testimonies by the court aim to prove that Ahmed H. had a leading role in the protest, although the court lacks any evidence for this. Applying the “terrorism and other crimes” paragraph with the risk of a life-long prison sentence is an extreme overstretch of the law. We can only consider this trial to be politically motivated and a serious violation of human rights. 

Where does the money go?

The money goes directly to Ahmed’s wife and will be used to cover the fees for the defense lawyer for the trial. The lawyer charges 15000€ to represent Ahmed in the upcoming trials. 

Help us supporting Ahmed H!  Your donation will help to cover lawyer expenses and relieve some of the financial burden of his family members. 

We are the Platform “Free the Röszke 11” several groups fighting for a common cause, namely to support and stand in solidarity with the Röszke 11: refugees and migrants, who are and were experiencing extrajudical state terror via show trials and other forms of abuse. They, as many others, are becoming exposed to racist tactics of extermination all across Europe: expulsion, asylum restrictions, deportations, “push-backs”, violence, theft, (show)trials, and other methods.

http://freetheroszke11.weebly.com

freetheroszke11@riseup.net

You can donate: here.

About Enough is Enough!

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This entry was posted in Hungary, No Borders, Refugees, Repression, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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