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The Criminalization of Non-violent Protest Continues: Harassing Criminal Proceedings at the Criminal District Court in Graz

Submitted by Murxredaktion on Tue, 07/04/2017 - 22:51

Public prosecutors want to turn a slight self-injury of a security worker into a serious crime

(Graz, 4th July 2017) It is said that by means of the obviously overhasty and unlawful eviction of the Murcamp1 from someone else’s estate, which is also stated in the constitutional law (freedom of assembly according to article 11 of the European Human Rights Convention), the criminalization against peaceful protests should be further driven on by mayor Siegfried Nagl and the ‘EStAG’ supported by political parties. The estate probably does not belong to the city of Graz yet because of expropriation proceedings which have not been finished yet.

The public prosecutors of Graz have fixed criminal proceedings with a trial lasting 5 hours on account of supposedly “grievous bodily harm”, “unlawful coercion” as well as “damage to property” for Wednesday, 5th July 2017 against 7 (according to latest reports even 9) participants in the spontaneous demonstration against the clearing for the controversial Mur power station on 6th February 2017. The clearing started just shortly after the lost election. Here the body of public prosecutors takes section 5 of grievous bodily harm according to article 84 German Criminal Code completely out of its context. It wasn’t until 2015 that section 5 has been added under justice minister Wolfgang Brandstetter and it judges bodily harms with the intention of injury or maltreatment to be “grievous bodily harm” even if it is done “in colluded connection”.

To make the situation worse, there are two accused women who haven’t got the slightest thing to do with the incident which can be proven and the security worker has injured himself in negligence of his duties when he wanted to avoid the building fence from falling down by grasping shortly at the fence from above without any gloves and an umbrella in his second hand and so hurt himself at the fence point when he has just come from outside.

The shaking at the fence where a clip has broken was in any case due to attacks of the security workers provided by the company ‘KLS’: demonstrators believed that they could stop clearings at 15:20 by further reducing the distances, which were illegally too small anyway, to the fence which probably wasn’t even permitted, when the fence was so brutally thrown back that a peacefully standing demonstrator could probably have been seriously injured in the face. A KLS worker has brutally hit a demonstrator at his bare hands several times and like in a rage, later on a clearing blocker was put in a headlock and then brutally thrown to the floor.

Some demonstrators but took advantage of the moment of shock and climbed over the fallen fence in order to interrupt the tree fellings in the clearing area for about two hours which have on that day come to its end. What does this short protest, however, mean in comparison with the much more severe crimes of the big companies, which damage the environment for unprofitable power stations and above all the wallet of the citizens of Graz (the costs of the power station and the storage channel amount to 160 million euros!) and which thereby also jeopardize the health of the citizens of Graz with lasting effect?

Instead of protecting the freedom of assembly as stated in the constitutional law by preventing attacks of security workers and danger to the public caused by building fences which are hastily put up probably even without any permission and with too small distances, that is to say unlawful – the minimum distance to tree fellings is the 1.5-fold of the biggest tree height; there was a fence part into which an apparently improperly felled tree has fallen! – the body of public prosecutors of Graz tries to make use of a perpetrator-victim inversion and accuse those who point out the abuses by means of their presence. It wasn’t only the demonstrators who were endangered by falling trees but also the security workers and partly even the police in the much too small strip of the clearing area!

The trial will be even more exciting than that of the NGO photographer Franz Keppel and Romana Ull, vice president of the nature conservation union of Styria, and the almost criminal enery of the politico-economic sleaze around mayor Siegfried Nagl and the national energy company ‘EStAG’. Obviously they try everything possible to push through a highly questionable large-scale project by all force at the expense of the population and the basic rights as well as the constitutional state in Austria.

According to the European Court for Human Rights the freedom of assembly is also restricted by every measure which has a deterrent effect, so that people no longer dare to take part in an assembly. It will also be fascinating whether the media will finally report more extensively and more differentiatedly about the power station and channel scandal. It’s only about the future of an already highly indebted provincial capital (debts will rise from 1.3 to 1.6 billion euros!)

Dates of the trial:

First trial on 5th July 2017, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Court room 3/ground floor

District Court for Criminal Matters Graz
Conrad-von-Hötzendorf-Straße 41, A-8010 Graz
Judge: Mag. Margarete Lapanje