24 March 2011

Report from Day 21 – 23 March 2011

A lesson in weaponry with cream. The front is where it looks like the back.

Expert witness on weapons: M. Bernstein from the Federal Criminal Office (BKA)

Bernstein had been charged with evaluating the photos of the Taipan with regards to the type of guns and ammunition used. In particular, the court is interested in establishing whether the accused used an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) to attack the Taipan.

To the Unknown Pirate

The following text is the translation of a speech held by anti-war activists during a “Commemoration for the unknown Pirate” in Laboe on 28 August 2010. Laboe, a suburb of the town of Kiel, is well known for its war memorial and its regular official ceremonies to commemorate the “unknown soldiers” who have died at sea. A report of the event can be found here.

Today we commemorate those among the seamen who have become victims of the sea during times of globalisation but have never been mentioned on any memorial plaque, in any public oration nor at any minute´s silence: The unknown pirates.

Here in Laboe, the state pays homage with a monumental expense to the military branch of seafaring. Several monuments have been set in this hicksville for those sailors who have given their lives in the violent prevention of goods transport via sea. A submarine to admire, an oversized monument in the shape of a vulture to remember the submariners' death in allegiance to the state and an immense phallus to honour imperial traditions of the navy, leave no doubts about the substance and meaning of christian seafaring: Yesterday – today – tomorrow, everything by means necessary for the benefit of the nation and the capital.

21 March 2011

In the meantime...

... the BBC reports that "Convicted Somali pirates get life sentences in US court".

Report from Day 20 – 09 March 2011

A short Summary

Dutch Navy Officer de Vind gave evidence again. It turned out that one of the accused had made extensive statements about the background network of pirates in Somalia when questioned on the Tromp. The statements were “only for Dutch eyes” and otherwise secret.

De Vind insisted on calling the interrogations “voluntary statements”, although he had to admit that the person being interviewed was chained to a chair. He claimed that the purpose of the interviews was to gain military information, not to gain evidence for a prosecution.

The judge announced that de Vind might have to appear for a fourth time.

20 March 2011

Victor Nzuzi ,Via Campesina from Kongo explains about the relation between fishing and "pirates"

and sends from Mali a painting full of solidarity greetings for the somalian man in prison in Hamburg.
subtitle text soon.in the meantime exercise french.

Report from Day 19 - 28 February 2011

Today Detective B. Walther from the German Federal Criminal Office (BKA) is giving evidence. 

Walther only has limited permission to give evidence, which means that he can't answer questions relating to operational matters. 

He and a colleague had travelled to Dubai in order to secure evidence on the Taipan. They accompanied a team of the Dubai police on board on three days in April 2010. The Dubai police collected the evidence, Walther and his colleague just documented it. At one stage they used metal rods, which they pushed through bullet holes in order to determine the angle of the shots. 

According to Walther, the majority of the damage was the result of gun fire, and mainly around the bridge. There were also blood stains and naked foot prints. Some of the damage had been repaired temporarily. They had contact to the crew, who continued to give them pieces of evidence, which Walther handed over to the Dubai police. 

They did not examine any of the weapons on site. That only happened after they had been sent to Germany. By that time it was no longer possible to take fingerprints because Dutch crew had handled them without gloves and the guns were all rusty from being exposed to sea air. The weapons were: 5 machine guns, 2 rocket propelled grenades (RPG), 2 hand guns, 2 knives and one cricket bat. 

The photos the two German police officers took are shown on monitors in the court room. The judge notes that there are no photos of damage from large calibre weapons, like RPGs, which were shown to the court by the second officer of the Taipan. When asked why they didn't document these significant damages, Walther replies that it wasn't part of their brief. 

Report from day 18 - 23 February 2011, afternoon

The age report for the youngest defendant is read out. The x-ray examination has resulted in an estimated age of 12 - 23 years (+/- 2 years). The analysis of wisdom teeth has resulted in an estimate of 25 years of age. 

Then a psychological report about the defendant is read out, which says that he is mature enough to distinguish right from wrong and to act accordingly. The result is that he no longer gets bail.

Defence counsel Jung submits an application to dismiss the work of the expert witness Dr Fuhrmann, who was involved in the process of age determination. Furhmann had described in a public newsletter in 2002 how to write a report about a person's age in a way that makes it hard to be challenged in court. A report should be written in a way that removes any doubt about the procedures, in order to ensure the integrity of the expert. For the defence, this proves that the aim was not to establish the correct age of the accused but rather to defend the expertise. Monetary gain was the driving motive. 

The minutes of the hearing in June was read out, in which the defendants complain about being locked in single cells. In Holland, and even on the Dutch frigate, they were kept together. They experienced the isolation as special hardship. 

The defence also point out that the accused have fear of being executed in Germany, and ask the judge to explain officially that there is no capital punishment in German law in order to remove their fears. 

Report from Day 17 - 07 February 2011

Today Dutch navy officer Jeffrey, who was in charge of the intervention on the 05.04 on the Taipan gives evidence. He reports the events and identifies some of the accused he arrested on board. He was first questioned by the judge and then by some lawyers.