First elements to understand the course of the procedure to Elbchaussee that started in Hamburg on December 18 – or: How the German state tries to prove that all persons participating in a demonstration are organized felons and should be convicted as such.
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.
Read all our No G 20 articles: here.
Everybody knows that the judiciary is a filthy theater in which the rich and their henchmen tackle the poor and rebels. Nevertheless its performance is by no means equivalent. It often appears as nimble or even tallied. Sometimes it appears as too oiled, leaving no doubt at its outcome, dramaturgically weak.
The performance which started on Tuesday December 18 at the Hamburg court, comes in the face of 29 scheduled trial days until May with lots of panting and with more surprises than was foreseeable. In the review: The extremely poorly written scenario, an oppressive casting error and an unexpected intervention. Attempt of a breakdown.
The initial position is known. On one side are the city of Hamburg, its cops and its judiciary, seeking revenge for the shame they suffered during the Hamburg riots that ruined their 2017 G20 summit. This part of the participants has mobilized big resources to create a success with reverberation. The lion’s share for promotion of the process was taken over by the media. Slander appeals, raids, European arrest warrants and other arrests abroad have contributed to the illusion of efficient investigative work (as many as 180 full-time investigators over 15 months).
On the other hand, the five accused are persecuted, slandered, arrested and (in three cases) imprisoned. They should be held responsible for the following allegations: Participation in the express devastation of the chic Elbchaussee in the early morning hours of 7 July 2017. In a matter of minutes, this swift march against the world’s richest rulers is said to have caused millions of dollars in damages, causing systematic property damage to the symbols of wealth and power: banks, consulates, cars, shops, and a famous Scandinavian business for dirty furniture.
On one side there are five young people, four Germans and one Frenchman. On the other hand, an army of cops, judges, politicians and journalists who are convinced of their guilt. But what kind of guilt do they speak about here? This is the mysterious question that arose on the first day of the trial for all those who were present.
After the ominous curtain opened with a delay due to dozens of supporters who filled the hall, the court started with the reading of innumerable allegations. There followed a soporific reading of the countless property damages that took place at the morning demonstration. This included a lengthy reading of the number plates of burned vehicles as well as an estimate of the value of each destroyed window in the district. Because that’s the point. When cars burn and windows burst, the state demands that those who burn cars and destroy windows are getting punished. Nevertheless inclined spectators may have been very surprised by one thing: There was no link between the accused persons and the listed offenses. In other words: the trial which was announced nationwide as the case against the Elfchaussee fire devils, accuses five people who are not accused of actually destroying windows or passing cars to the flames.
What the defendants are accused of is above all their alleged presence at this gathering – and a few more gestures in the case of our friend Loïc. And what the prosecution, ie the state, wants to enforce over the coming months is that it should be possible to sentence people to several years in prison for the simple fact that they were said to have been at a demonstration that caused material damage – and without having to prove that these people were involved in practically causing these damages. In order for this hocus-pocus to succeed, it must be possible to turn a demonstration into an organized criminal gang – realizing this heroic deed appears to be the goal of Hamburgs state prosecutor Tim Pashkowski.
It seems that the drama created by the prosecution can mutate into an immature satire. For the emptiness of the indictment, which the defense has been trying to show for months, does not seem to have escaped the president of the 17 th criminal division. As part of the litigation before the trial started judge Anne Meyer-Goring found that their assessment of the highest expected penalties is well below the demands of the prosecutor. She unsuccessfully demanded the release of two of the defendants and as juvenile judge (two of the defendants were minors at the time of the crime), she criticized the investigators’ work and accused them to be influenced by pressure of politicians and media. This disapproval led to the prosecutor’s office attempting to withdraw her case in the run-up to the beginning of December. The request for bias was not accepted, so that the court now has the task of carrying out this extensive process and has the difficult task of assessing these new repressive methods of the German police and their political ideas (the criminalization of all persons involved in a partially violent assembly). (Of course, we would not worship a civil servant, but even if you set out to defend the “good constitutional state” and run as a bulwark against certain police-political excesses, you still have the logic of the charge, demands of up to three years Prison without parole.)
Among the amusing innovations in the investigation is the massive and automated capture of residents and demonstrators through the use of facial recognition software specifically designed for the occasion. Tens of thousands of faces were recorded, sorted, classified and stored according to “profiles of biometric facial recognition”, which allow to recognize individuals in other images, to understand their movements in crowds etc. Since this lacked a solid legal basis, it was not only necessary for activists and lawyers* inside the courtroom to denounce this. On Tuesday, on the day the trial started, the Supervisor ordered the refusal to use the program. After all, we’re talking about over 100 Terrabites of information, 32,000 photo and video files of an undetermined number of people affected.
The police used their own pictures, but not only. It comes from public transport cameras, railway stations, the media and countless “honest” citizens who published their defamation on a treason portal specially set up by the authorities. The Supervisor noted that this procedure “significantly limits the freedoms of a large number of persons”. He demands the deletion of the data and the prohibition of the software “Videmo360”. The cops would like to continue using their multi-million dollar toy, even if it did not bring the groundbreaking success (just three identified people in the context of the G20). This was proven by the new series of public image-search material, in which the Hamburg police published 54 faces in the same week. All this to renew the culture of defamation and betrayal.
In this mood the show trial was opened, in which all activists, lawyers and politicians agree: The trial could write legal history and possibly have serious consequences for the right to the freedom of assembly. And since no good spectacle really gets along without an audience, it was agreed to keep the coming trial days, on January 8 and 10 public. The coming Acts should bring to light some of the inconsistencies and weaknesses of the indictment and perhaps serve up new elements for the remaining issues.
For example: Are German cops allowed to do anything when traveling abroad? Or is the black block, as the prosecutor claims, “a division of work sharing, deliberate, cooperation”? What about the “mental support” that the “peaceful” protesters are accused of and to what extent should those have helped those who have broken things? Can a human being be blamed for actions on a demonstration if that person has already left the demonstration? Is it really possible to claim that a person’s movement profile is as unique as their fingerprints?
The drama that the state compels to write here probably will not turn into a comedy. Nevertheless each of the upcoming sessions should be understood as an opportunity to underline both the ridicule of the allegations and the correctness of the actions cited. They should be understood as the opportunity in various ways to support our comrades and friends who have aversely become actors in this grotesque rogue play. There were first meetings and actions during the first days of the trial in Paris, Nancy, Freiburg, Frankfurt and Berlin, as well as a bigger evening demo in Hamburg. There were fireworks on the roofs of friendly projects and slogans and chants rose in front of the walls of the prison, where three of the accused are still imprisoned. On the day of the trial opening, they were greeted with applause in the courtroom and left with their hands raised. The process will be long – we are with them these days with our thoughts!
Liberté pour Loïc!
Freedom for all prisoners of the G20!
Next process dates:
January: 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29, 31
February: 7, 8, 14, 15, 20, 21
March: 18, 22, 28, 29
April: 4, 5, 25, 26
May: 2, 3, 9, 10
Note: The 8th of January trial day will only last for about 15 minutes.
Support for financing
The defense of Loïc, his life in jail and traveling to support him is costing a lot of money. If you can get involved, donate to the Rote Hilfe and / or the CACENDR (subject: “Don pour Loic”). Thank you!
The question with the books:
Loïc wants books, a lot of books, a lot of books, as he says “to feed the intellectual weapon”. He reads about two books a day (not the Pleiades) in a small prison cell, between sleep and the few minutes in the yard. The rules of jail administration are tough: the books must be new, have to be reported to the jail administration beforehand, etc. The first books took a month to reach him. To avoid duplication, it is easiest with donations. If you are a publisher, book dealer, or author, you can also express your solidarity with book donations. If you like to contact the contact address below, Loïc will be very pleased. Thank you!
soutienloic (at) RiseUp (dot) net
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