Germany : Freedom for the Park Bench 3 , 07.08.2019: Update on legal proceedings and the situation of the prisoners
August 28, 2019by actforfreedom
About a month ago, three of our comrades were arrested in Hamburg (in a part of the city called Eimsbüttel). Two of them are still in remand custody pending trial. Although new information is still scarce, this text is meant to spread what we know so far, about the investigation and about the general development of this blow of repression the three of them are facing.
Here is what happened: the night before the 8th of July, our three comrades were sitting on a park bench as they became the subject of a police check, after which they were arrested. Shortly after, several apartments in Hamburg were searched. Police destroyed some doors and furniture and confiscated a lot of stuff. In some of the apartments, the people present during the search did not receive a list of the confiscated items as normally required.
One day later the cops issued a statement that gave “suspicion of preparing a serious crime” (“alleged arson”) as the reason for taking the three, who were brought before a magistrate in a court hearing one day after their arrest. Two of them have been in remand custody ever since. The third person’s arrest warrant has been suspended, they were let go under the condition that they report to the police regularly. The person is not allowed to leave the country. However, the arrest warrant has not been lifted, but only suspended. The defense had applied for having the remand reviewed, but withdrew the application for strategic reasons. In a remand review, the court decides whether or not to keep prisoners in custody until their trial. Review hearings are not open to the public.
What we know about the investigation so far
The investigating authority is the Supreme Prosecution Office, which means: Usually, the Supreme Prosecution Office will go for really big cases, such as trials against the PKK or members of the IS. Other big cases like the Breite-Straße trial in Hamburg, or the trials that followed the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg (Elbchaussee, Rondenbarg) are not investigated by this office. Them getting involved now shows that they are adopting a threatening posture, one that we have to show a united front against!
Since the investigation is currently ongoing, there are some things you should consider now more than ever:
don‘t make any statements to the cops or any other authorities of repression!
don‘t talk or speculate about what is going on when you are in public places (at the bar with your friends, …). Also, absolutely no discussion of the issue via phone or internet
don‘t talk to the press
if you would like to publish something yourself, only use information that is publicly available
It is very well possible that the cops or security agencies will try to talk to you, to access new information, or to “simply get your take on the events”. If you are being approached like this, refuse to talk to them – in order to protect the people immediately affected by this investigation, as well as yourself and everybody else. You should then contact the legal team (Ermittlungsausschuss/EA), Rote Hilfe and/or Out-Of-Action (activist emotional first aid). For the sake of other people’s safety, the fact that someone has been approached by the authorities needs to be made public right away.
There have already been numerous actions showing solidarity with the “Drei von der Parkbank”. That’s great and feels really empowering, so keep them coming!
How are the two prisoners doing on the inside?
The prisoners are facing harsh conditions in Holstenglacis prison. They are locked away alone in their cells for 23 hours each day. They only see other inmates during one hour of yard exercise a day, and during the few hours they are allowed to spend locked in another prisoner‘s cell on the weekends (how long that is at the prison guards‘ discretion and depends on their mood).
Both of them have had visitors already, the cops were always in the room with them. Visiting hours are very limited though: twice a month, up to 3 people can visit for a maximum of 1 hour. The two of them said that they are keeping their heads up. The solidarity people have shown in front of the prison did get through to them (solidarity demonstration, people giving speeches, shouting, fireworks), and they said it gave them strength and courage. None of the two were able to make phone calls so far, plainly because the phone company responsible was on holiday (WTF?). Both have already received books. You cannot send books directly to them, because any book they are supposed to get has to be approved of before. Only then can you order an original copy to be sent right to prison. If you happen to have ideas for what books the two could like, feel free to contact the blog (see below), or tell the prisoners themselves when you send them a letter.
Finally, the two can now receive letters. It takes quite some time for letters to actually reach them, though, because three separate authorities (the prison, the cops (State Office of Criminal Investigation) and the state prosecutor‘s office) check all of them. Keep sending them letters, so that they always have something to read! You can read up on what to consider when sending letters to prisoners on the solidarity blog: parkbanksolidarity.blackblogs.org
Remember: number the pages of your letter and include a list of what is in the envelope – to make sure everything actually arrives! Don‘t forget to include some stamps.
Please be aware that the prisoners do not want their full names to be known publicly. Meaning: you need to get creative when launching fireworks next to the prison or yelling greetings across the prison walls (both best to be done between 5 and 9.30 p.m.). Instead, you could also do a shout-out to all of the prisoners incarcerated there! If you are thinking about organizing actions such as concerts or demonstrations next to the prison, please announce it way ahead of time (for example in an email to the blog). On the weekends, the prisoners are allowed to spend some hours with other inmates and need to know beforehand that something will be going on on the outside, in order to plan accordingly and be able to see and/or hear as much of your solidarity as possible.
Continue to show your solidarity! Do actions, organize solidarity events (cafés, bar nights, brunches, concerts, parties, info events, letter writing etc. …). Take care of one another and keep your eyes and ears open. Let your friends know! Let‘s overcome the silence and the insecurity together! We are angry!