Extension of detention, about Matthias in Switzerland
September 18, 2019by actforfreedom
Placed in detention since the end of November 2018, Matthias*, an antispeciesist activist suspected of material damage, was due to be released on 5 August 2019. But on 29 July, the Public Prosecutor’s Office requested a further two-month extension, citing a potential risk of recurrence. The decision of the Tribunal on coercive measures fell on 5 August : extension confirmed, on the pretext that the accused was part of the antispeciesist movement. Various support groups will strongly oppose it, notably through a mobilization on August 7 in front of the Geneva Palace of Justice.
After ordering a third extension of Matthias* detention (alias) last June, the Court of Coercive Measures at the request of Prosecutor Adrian Holloway has just ruled on a further extension. His motive ? The fact that it is part of the antispeciesist movement and would, as a matter of principle, present a risk of recidivism in the event of release. Failing to consider full release and while existing alternative measures (house arrest or electronic bracelet) should be considered according to the principles of proportionality, the authorities do not deign to think about it, claiming that they would be insufficient in preventing recidivism since the accused “adheres a priori with the same conviction and commitment” to the anti-speciesist ideology. The accused’s new lawyer, Olivier Peter, opposed this decision by contesting the existence of a risk of repetition. He will appeal against this decision, which justifies the continued detention due to the political position of the detainee, in serious violation of the freedom of conscience guaranteed by the Federal Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. It should be recalled that Matthias* is currently only suspected of broken windows, ripping off posters and tags. It therefore seems obvious that the situation is the result of the abusive political repression of an activist held hostage by a legislative system that protects economic interests at the expense of human and animal dignity.
Several groups are firmly opposed to this judicial persecution by encouraging militant circles to unite by taking solidarity actions. Among them : solidarityS Vaud, CUAE, Anti-repression Geneva, Comité de soutien aux 3+4 de Briançon, Association Co&xister, COA – Animalist Coalition, 269 Libération Animale – Switzerland and Deep Green Resistance France.
Together, they denounce imprisonment as the symbol of a deeply unequal and unjust society, which finds in the deprivation of freedom the treacherous way to coerce those who do not want to correspond to expected societal norms. Thus, radical activists against forms of domination (animal, ecological, racial, patriarchal,…), in solidarity with the sacrificed of colonialism and capitalism, precarious people, are all more or less violated by this system systematically protecting the interests of privileged population groups. The latest examples of repression of environmental groups are yet another example of this.
An alternative reading, outside of societal dogmas, convinces us without flinching that it is indeed the system as a whole that creates institutionalized violence against vulnerable populations, both human and animal. Power relations over humans and animals have also proven their catastrophic impacts on the climate situation. Finally, today, thanks to the many militant mobilizations throughout the world, coupled with the latest scientific reports, the public debate on the consequences of capitalist and unequal human activity on climate change is in place. So it is not the activists who need to be incarcerated, but the system that needs to be changed if we want to preserve the possibility of living on this land.
On November 29, 2018, Matthias and another activist were sent to Champ-Dollon, suspected of material damage to restaurants, butcher shops and speciesist posters. The second activist will be released after a week of detention. Matthias* will be there locked up until this day. Mirabelle*, a third activist will also be imprisoned there for a month before being released. Antispeciesism is a political struggle like feminism, the recognition of rights for LGBTIQ+ people and anti-racism. It advocates the need to speak out for the 77.5 million animals killed each year in Switzerland, the 60 million animals killed each year and the 60 million animals killed each year.