Solidarity demo for the animal activists in austria by the austrian consulate
Touch one, touch all,
The trial against ten animal rights activist on charges of membership in a criminal organisation starts off
On March 2 2010, the show trial against ten Austrian animal rights activists, members of Basisgruppe Tierrechte (BAT) and other animal rights and animal welfare organisations, is bound to begin. In August of last year, the 200 pages long charging document was presented to the accused which mainly refers to §278a of the Austrian penal code aimed at crushing so called criminal and terrorist organisations. Over one hundred witnesses are summoned by the prosecution office alone. Among them are members of the board of directors of Peek & Cloppenburg, C&A and other alleged victims of the animal rights movement. The trial will last at least six month and cost each of the accused some ten thousand Euros in legal expenses, not included all other costs for maintaining a life without being able to work due to compulsory attendance in court!
The case in retrospective
On May 21 2008, all in all 23 flats and houses were raided all over Austria leading to the arrest of ten people. The reasoning behind the raids was provided by the charge of membership in a criminal organisation as defined in §278a, because the activists had used standardised PGP-encryption for their communication. Thus, danger of collusion was suggested by police. The activists spent 105 days isolated from each other in custody. On several occasions the courts declared the rightful usage of the preventive imprisonment and prolonged the term accordingly. Yet, the accusations, as they are listed in the charging document, substantially lack the naming of tangible offences.
The heart of the matter is recruitment and organising for animal rights groups, researching and documenting information about animal cruelty and its perpetrators, announcing and taking part in demonstrations and the dispersion of „Animal Liberation Front Ideology. The alleged proof for the latter is the organisation of lectures which touched the history of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF). Thus, public campaigning is equated with the illegal actions of the ALF and the contact to and the correspondence with British activists is seen as evidence for the existence of a conspiratorial network of European „animal rights terrorists.
For further information see www.antirep278a.blogsport.de