Wanneer: 21/04/2017 - 09:56
This is the fourth newsletter about the antirepression in the coal resistance / the climate movement, mostly in the Rhineland and Lusatia (Germany).
If you are too busy to read the whole thing, here are the dates of the next court cases we already know of. You are cordially invited to attend them and show your solidarity!
- 9th and 23rd of May '17, both 9a.m., local court in Erkelenz, accusation: trespassing
- 16th of May, local court Erkelenz, accusation: rioting
- 31st of May, 12th and 26th of June, 9a.m. each, local court in Erkelenz, accusation: rioting
- 13th of July 2017, 1 p.m., local court Erkelenz, accusation: trespassing
You'll find the newsletter in the attachment (news#4_EN)
NEWSLETTER CLIMATE-ANTIREPRESSION #4 – Mid April 2017
Criminal Law (p.2)
Report on trial: first verdict of “not guilty“ regarding Ende Gelaende '15 (p.2)
Upcoming trials (p.2)
Civil Law (p.2)
Report from the strategic meeting (p.3)
First people being sued for not signing a DCD (Ende Gelaende '15) (p.4)
Update on campaign “Leave the Coal in the Ground“ (p.5)
Outlook on the summer 2017 (p.6)
Police in state of Brandenburg still looking for anonymous activists (p.6)
First penalty order regarding Ende Gelaende 2016 (p.6)
here it is, the fourth newsletter regarding the repression that the climate movement is facing – and all that we put up against it!
You can help shape the next newsletter: don't hesitate to contact the newsletter's mail-address if you have any general question regarding legal issues that you think are difficult to understand - be it criminal law, civil law, right of assembly, procedures at court. As long as it is somehow in the context of the climate movement, and the antirepression people behind this newsletter (with their legal knowledge regarding german law) could likely be able to answer it, it's a good question. We will then do our best to answer the questions we receive in the upcoming newsletters and give clear explanations.
Also contact the e-mail email@example.com in case you....
-want to subscribe to the newsletter (about once every 6 weeks or when necessary)
-have information that should be included in the next newsletter
-want to receive the previous newsletters
The Antirrr (for the Rhineland area, firstname.lastname@example.org) and CAT (for Lusatia,email@example.com) are still the ones to talk to if you yourself are affected by repression. Regarding incarceration, the ABC Rhineland (abcrhineland.blackblogs.org) will provide you both with support and information. If you contact us, you can be connected to other people affected by repression, and you can benefit from experiences others have already made. At the same time you enable us to gain more insight into the ongoing investigation and learn from it.
The anti-repression groups can also connect you to lawyers or other legally well-versed people, explain options for action to you and connect you to other defendants. They also have some money at hand solely to cover repression costs – but please only count on that money once you contacted us! We want to support you in your struggle against repression.
No one is left alone!
your antirepression groups
Report on trial: First verdict of “not guilty“ regarding Ende Gelaende '15
Although quite a couple of court cases against Ende Gelaende 2015 activists being accused of trespassing or rioting took place over the last few months, none of them had ended in a final verdict. All lawsuits had either been discontinued (with orders for the accused to pay money to the state), or had been postponed again and again.
The 4 th of April 2017 marks the day that the first verdict was given – and it was “not guilty“!
At first the activist had been accused of “rioting“. These claims could not be sustained, the court basically recognised that simply flowing through police lines is not enough to call it rioting. Hence, during the first day of court in October, the accusation was changed to “violation of the law of assembly“. She was then accused of having carried a bag of straw as “passive armour“. The defender filed an application to take evidence, in reaction to which the state prosecutor withdrew the charges and the accused was discharged.
We are hoping to see this decision having an impact on umcoming trials and to see more verdicts of not guilty.
Read the press release on the trial here (in German): https://www.ende-gelaende.org/de/press-release/pressemitteilung-4-4-2017/
• 9 th and 23 rd of May, 9 a.m. each, local court Erkelenz, accusation: trespassing
• 16 th of May, local court Erkelenze, accusation: rioting
• 31 st of May, 12 th and 26 th of June, 9 a.m. each, local court Erkelenz, accusation: rioting
• 13 th of July, 1 p.m., local court Erkelenz, accusation: trespassing
Maybe there will be dates for civil law suits at the county court in Cologne in May aswell – as soon as we know more the dates will be published.
New reports on court cases and dates of upcoming trials can always be found on the blog of AntiRRR! http://antirrr.blogsport.de/ (don't be surprised: if for a trial that was announced in the previous newsletter there is no report in the following one, that probably means that it was postponed or discontinued. More information about that on the website.) Attend the trials, share your solidarity photos, make the repression public the people who put themselves in the way of harmful coal are facing!
What effects does repression of the civil law kind have in our context?
About 120 people already received so called “declarations to cease and desist“ (DCDs) with regard to Ende Gelaende 2015. DCDs are part of German civil law and are usually send out if an individual or a company wants to prevent people from entering their premises again, if they had already been cought in doing so before. Another typical situation for a DCD would be if a public figure was trying to get a media representative to not again publish certain statements about them. RWE hopes the DCDs to have the effect that many people whose personal data are known agree with their signature to not enter the company's premises again – because if they did, they might have to pay large fines (most likely four-digit amounts) to RWE or they could be sued because of their breach of the contract that the DCD represents.
People who do not sign such a DCD or only sign part of it (because usually it demands to 2much) also risk to be sued to accept the demands. Such a costly lawsuit can, but doesn't have to ensue.
As mentioned in the previous newsletters, such a civil lawsuit is already ongoing in the case of a group of activists who did a small group action at the power plant Niederaußem during the COP21 in December 2015.
Measures of civil law do not have much to do with criminal procedures, they are basically a different area of law. Sometimes RWE mixes the two nonetheless, e.g. when they offer someone to withdraw a criminal complaint of trespassing if the accused agrees to sign a DCD instead. But usually those two things do not affect one another. Even if an activist wins a trial for trespassing that doesn't mean that they will not be “asked“ or sued to sign a DCD.
Report from the strategic meeting
On the 4 th of March people affected by DCDs and civil lawsuits, people supporting them in solidarity, people from different antirepression-structures, from Ende Gelaende and from the “Leave it in the ground“-campaign met in Göttingen. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a common strategic approach to dealing with the DCDs that would allow us to be both resistant and capable of acting.
After discussing the legal facts we approached different scenarios of how to deal with them. All kinds of different opinions were represented and could be heard.
A summary of some of the core points:
*** We want to use at least one lawsuit to fight for what we believe is right, hence we want to prepare arguments that could stand trial at the highest German court, the Federal Constitutional Court.
*** We want to create a moment of (symbolically) signing the DCDs that is collective and powerful and in which we clearly express that people will remain resistant despite having signed the DCD. (A small group formed to further work on that)
*** We rather want to encourage the people affected by DCDs than give recommendations. In that we want to clarify that there can't be a standardized way of dealing with these issues, but that people should rather look at their individual situation for clues to decide what could be the best way to go for them, but keep in mind how we can preserve the stamina and power of a whole movement.
It became clear that despite all that we need specific agreements on what to tell the people affected about how we can proceed from here, both as an antirepression group and as action groups.
We drafted a couple of options for the people who already received a DCD but have not been sued yet. All the people already affected by these have been asked to respond soon with the decision they have made. Here are these options:
→ a) People sign the DCD as a whole.
We want to encourage people to sign the DCD if they want to focus on something else politically. People who have signed the DCD are part of the resistance nonetheless. There are numerous places for action that are not affected by the DCD and many different ways to participate.
3→ b) People sign part of the DCD/ an altered DCD.
We want to encourage people to sign modified versions of the DCD if they want to test out whether RWE accepts partial agreements. (Update on that: As of lately, RWE has been sueing people who signed modified DCDs.)
→ c) People do not sign the DCD.
We want to encourage people not to sign the DCD if they are completely aware of the possible consequences (e.g. a possible expensive lawsuit) and feel prepared to go through with these – with support, of course. One way of dealing with the costs would be an oath of disclosure of ones financial situation, hence, permanently living with only a small amount of money in order to not have to pay the costs of the trial and RWE's lawyers.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to read the full length minutes of the meeting, including more detailed explanations of the consequences of the different options. If you yourself received a declaration to cease and desist and haven't told email@example.com yet what you decided to do, please do so as soon as possible!
First people being sued for not signing a DCD (Ende Gelaende '15)
Shortly after the strategic meeting a new development of the civil law repression struck: On the 24 th of March, AntiRRR had to publish that civil lawsuits had been filed against Ende Gelaende 2015 activists. As of now (18 th of April 2017) this number is up to six lawsuits. What is interesting about these is that not only people who did not sign the DCDs are being sued by RWEs law firm “Redeker Sellner Dahs“ to accept all claims, but also people who signed part of the DCD or a modified version. Apparently there are also people being sued who indeed did sign, but whose letters hadn't arrived at RWEs office before the lawsuits were filed.
The prospects for such lawsuits aren't to good at the county court of Cologne, although the lawyers of the activists who were sued earlier (the small group action in December 2015 mentioned above) say that the demands are too extensive. The refusal of financial legal aid for the accused among other things indicates that the court probably will not decide in the activists' favor. Part of the new lawsuits is going to be processed by the county court in Mönchengladbach, the situation at that court remains to be seen.
Once a person received such a lawsuit the costs vary between 2300€ minimum and up to 10.000€ if the the court decides that all claims have to be accepted. This amount consists of court costs and the expenses for the lawyers of both sides – at the county court one is obliged to mandate a lawyer.)
AntiRRR, together with the people affected and with supportive lawyers, is looking for options that are preferable both for the people affected and the whole movement. The considerations are centered around gaining knowledge about these kinds of proceedings aswell as attempting to use only a few well-chosen lawsuits to legally fight for a change in the practice of RWE of sending out DCDs en masse.
If you yourself are affected by a DCD and haven't decided on what you want to do or haven't communicated it to the AntiRR yet, please do so immediately! If you or someone you know is being sued you should also report to AntiRRR as soon as possible: you have to conform to certain deadlines to avoid being confronted by a “judgement of default“ which is also very expensive.
Update on the campaign “Leave the coal in the ground“
In February the campaign “Untenlassen/ Leave the coal in the ground – instead of undermining our protest“ started, both in light of the ongoing lawsuits against activists of the small group action in December 2015, and anticipating that the Ende Gelaende 2015 activists might also see a surge of lawsuits in the near future.
The aim of the campaign is to create a form of public outreach and make this inappropriate form of repression more known, but also to raise funds to support the people leading political lawsuits.
The campaign is running at full blast, placing articles in the media, collecting statements of solidarity, giving presentations, organizing info booths, fundraising parties... Stay tuned at https://untenlassen.org/ where you'll also find more ways of supporting the campaign.
Your help is still needed. It is important that each and everyone is aware of the fact that these civil claims are incredible attempts at intimidation. RWE would love to see people being pushed out of the movement by these measures. At the moment it may only be a few who have to face declarations to cease and desist or civil lawsuits, but the repression is adressed to all of us, to the whole climate movement. Please consider what you personally could contribute to further the campaign, how you could support the activists and make the issue public. If you have any questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org (PGP-key available on their website).
Forward the information about the campaign to your networks! Tweet the website! Place the web banner on your own websites! What's still missing is organisations willing to publicly support the campaign with their name, who would also circulate it in their social networks and across their own channels.
Of course: Please donate to the campaign! Organize fundraising parties or concerts and donate the money you made!
Account: Spenden & Aktionen
IBAN: DE29 5139 0000 0092 8818 06
Bank: Volksbank Mittelhessen
OUTLOOK ON THE SUMMER 2017
In August, a variety of actions will take place in the Rhineland - several climate camps and coordinated action days, including Ende Gelaende, autonomous small group actions and a red-line-action among others will draw numerous people into the coal mining area.
A new legal aid group was established especially on that occasion: the Legal Team for All (LTFA), which, living up to its name, wants to be approachable for each and every kind of legal question and legal counselling needed by all the different forms of actions that are going to constitute the action days. People are already working on an updated legal aid booklet which will be published well before the actions. You will also be able to spread summaries regarding the special questions people attending one specific action might have. Feel free to contact the LTFA early in advance if you are planning on doing an action this summer and have any questions about the possible consequences. Organizational groups of the different events and action groups should both consult the LTFA early on to be able to plan their actions with the posibble legal repercussions in mind.
You can also contact the LTFA if you as an individual have questions regarding your role in the actions this summer (e.g. if you signed a declaration to cease and desist and are unsure of what could happen to you if you enter into an action anyway, or if your residential status in Germany is unclear, or if you for any other reason want to avoid confrontation with the authorities). The LTFA can then try to do research on your particular situation and clarify what might await you. Of course the LTFA will also be present at the different camps for face- to-face advice.
Contact the LTFA via e-mail, email@example.com, PGP-key available right away upon request.
Police in state of Brandenburg still looking for anonymous activists
On the 18 th of March 2017 an anti-deportation rallye took place in Schönefeld (close to Berlin). One person was pulled from the crowd and checked for their personal data. The reason: the police claimed they were involved in the Ende-Gelaende action days 2016. Police in the state of Brandenburg thus is still looking for activists who remained anonymous, almost one year after the action took place.
First penalty order regarding Ende Gelaende 2016
So far, we (CAT, the Climate Antirepression Team) know of one penalty order in connection with the Ende Gelaende action days 2016 in Lusatia. The accusation is trespassing. If you have received a letter regarding the same matter, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We can connect you with other people affected by this and together we can contemplate how we want to proceed. You can find our PGP-key on our website cat.nirgendwo.info.