Updates april 2020

Some updates on the defendants in the park bench trial and the situation in Hamburg prisons.

In the current situation, the German state is relying on the radical restrictions of social life. This discourse is accompanied by numerous monitoring and prosecution powers on the part of the security authorities in order to prevent alleged violations. Penalties for non-compliance with sometimes very questionable behaviour and residence bans in public places are accompanied by the upping of surveillance, allowing authorities to locate people via mobile phone tracking and to isolate them in order to prevent infection. These are mainly measures that politicians and police have been demanding for years and which are now being introduced into legislation in the wake of the pandemic and thus threaten to be applied more widely.

Prisoners in prisons are probably the most affected by the regulations put in place to prevent the spread of the Covid19 pandemic. In recent weeks, entire wards of the Holstenglacis U-prison have been put in isolation. This means 23 hours of confinement, virtually solitary confinement in the yard and little contact with other prisoners. But even if prisoners are not in isolation because of a suspected case, the already inhumane living conditions of the detention centre are still radically reduced. The number of visitors has been reduced, or visits are cancelled altogether (this happens, for example, because the LKA – Criminal office who has to be present at each visit, in this case – is „unable“ to monitor the visits or cannot find a suitable room) If visits do occur, they are often much shorter and only possible behind a separating glass. Here the harassing arbitrariness of the „necessary measures“ often becomes apparent: While the prisoners and visitors are subject to strict rules and are sanctioned if they do not comply, the screws sometimes behave without distance. Phone calls are still possible, but often there is not enough money to pay the absurd tariffs. The telephone provider is likely to profit especially here. Whether also post office and book transmissions are affected by the measures remains to be waited…

But the current situation also has a strong impact on the processing of prisoners. Instead of defusing the danger of infection in the prisons through dismissals – as happens in many places around the world – the deviese applies to many trials in Hamburg: Pull through, come what may! The basis for this is a change in the law regarding the interruption period for main hearings. If a trial is already in progress, a hearing could be interrupted for a maximum of 3 weeks. If more than 10 trial days have already been conducted, the period of interruption was one month. The new law provides for the possibility to interrupt proceedings for a period of up to 3 months and 10 days. The German Lawyers‘ Association, among others, has warned that this could lead to an artificial prolongation of criminal proceedings and thus also of pre-trial detention periods.

How are the defendants in the case against the park bench 3?

Despite the tense situation in connection with the restrictions imposed by the Corona pandemic, the defendants are doing well, according to the circumstances! The two comrades, who are still in custody, are in good spirits despite the numerous restrictions on visits and everyday life in prison. So keep on writing them letters and try to keep up the communication with the prisoners, especially under the current prison conditions! Also the third prisoner, who is still outside under registration requirements, is doing well!

What’s the status of the current proceedings against the park bench 3?

There is a drastic restriction of the number of spectator seats for the hearings in Hamburg courts. In the case against our comrades only 6 people can attend the trial, despite the fact that even with the safety distance of 1,5m there would be room for more people. All public viewers need to give their personal data at the entrance and have to follow the constantly changing rules of conduct within the court. Sometimes it is not allowed to stand in the corridor, sometimes it is not allowed to wait here or there. In addition, these alleged security rules probably do not seem to apply to cops or employees of the court. They often still move around the court building completely free.

The lawyers of the 3 defendants have tried again and again in the past days of the trial to request a delay of the proceedings. Due to the regulated minimum distance, neither an adequate communication with the clients is possible, nor – due to the strongly restricted seats for spectators – the publicity of the trial is possible. In this context, about 10 applications for a declaration of bias have already been filed against the Chamber of the Court. However, the Chamber, together with the public prosecutor’s office, continues to insist on a continuation of the proceedings, which has led to a continual escalation of the mood in the court.

Remain vigilant and support the prisoners!

Let us show them that they are not alone and that we are at their side especially now!

ps: Since the LIZ is not really usable due to the Corona situation, we can only forward your letters in a very limited way at the moment. The best thing you can do is to have your own sender address if you want to send letters with a synonym to the 3 defendants.

Corona update on the trial:

The court seems to want to continue the trial, so far no dates have been cancelled due to the corona virus. Of course, like so many things, this can change at short notice. We try to publish changes as soon as possible. However, due to the current situation the court has issued a new security order, which means quite drastic requirements for visitors of the trial:

– All visitors of the trial have to hand in their personal data (person or passport), which will be copied, kept for 14 days and then destroyed if no illness of other visitors is reported.

– If any of these visitors to the trial are subsequently suspected of having been infected with the corona virus or if a disease is confirmed, they must report to the court

– Generally only 6 instead of 100 members of the public are allowed to be present. They will be distributed with 1,5 meters distance in the stall

– The security gates have now opened half an hour before the start of negotiations

Some people will not be able to come, but to everyone else:

Continue to support our companions in the courtroom, think about how much more isolated the two companions in custody are in the current situation.

Show solidarity, whether in court, by postcard or in other ways!

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