23 May 2011

Sunday 22 May 2011 - Solidarity Party in the Park

About 100 people gathered this afternoon in the park outside the Hamburg remand prison to show solidarity with the Somali men who are incarcerated there. The peoples' kitchen provided food and drink, music was provided and speakers from different groups spoke about the trial and the prison in general. Also, several people wrote postcards to the prisoners.

22 May 2011

Summary of the 18 May 2011 court date

Prof Matthies, the German Somalia "expert" was on the stand again and questioned by the defence. To start with, the judge declines an application by the defence to have some additional info which was introduced by Matthies translated into Somali. The reason being that the language of teh court is German. Later on, Somali is spoken in court because the microphones and headphones fail.

Matthies revises some fo his statements from last time and admits that anyone growing up in Somalia would like be traumatised. The questions by the defence prompt him to give a more complete picture of Somalia than his origianl account. When asked for a historic parallel of the situation in Somalia, Matthies mentions the 30-year war. He says that piracy is partially in the hand of the clans and that press gangs might be operating from Kenia.

The defence applies to hear the mother and sister of the accused whose brother was killed – decision reserved.

There had been a request by the court to the Dutch prosecution to provide the videos of the interrogations on the Tromp was declined because it would put the Dutch officers at risk.

And finally the application for bail for one of the younger accused was declined due to flight risk.

Prosecution investigates Dutch navy officer

State prosecutor Wilhelm Möllers announced on Wednesday that the prosecution have started investigations into charges of neglicence causing death against a Dutch navy officer. The officer has appeared several times as a witness in the case against the alleged pirates. During one hearing, he alleged that one of the accused had made extensive statements to the Dutch navy, which are classified as secret. He identified the accused in the court room. Shortly after, the brother of the accused was killed by gunmen in Somalia. The defence argues that the killing was a direct result of the officer's statements in court.

“Now you will die!”: Coast Guard attempt to drown asylum-seekers in Lesbos Greece

This Incident happend 2 years ago, but unfortunately still refugees are misstreated this way trying to enter Europe.Through Wikileaks in Greece there is now the certainty that even the lokal Waterpolice chief of Lesvos was involved in the misstreatment of the refugees.

 “Now you will die!”: Coast Guard attempt to drown asylum-seekers in Lesbos Greece

Source: http://libcom.org/news/now-you-will-die-coast-guard-attempt-drown-asylum-seekers-lesbos-03082009
Coast guard of Lesbos tied 12 Somali immigrants in an inflatable boat and then pierced its sides with knives in order to drown the helpless asylum seekers who were saved by passing cruise boat
The Coast Guard of Lesbos Island has been accused of attempting to mass murder 12 Somali asylum seekers, amongst which one woman. According to the case, on the 5th of July an Austrian European border Frontex Helicopter spotted an inflatable boat containing the 12 immigrants off Korakas Cape in Lesbos.
Upon the arrival of the Greek Coast Guard, the helicopter left, leaving the Greek cops to arrest the 12. The Coast Guard took the 12 out of their boat, tied their hands to their necks, beat them, and put them back in the inflatable boat before piercing its sides with knives. Then they let the boat go to the open sea telling the asylum seekers in English: “Now you will die!”.
Immediately the boat started getting water in, and sinking. The asylum seekers were saved from certain drowning when a British cruise boat passed by, saw them and saved them. The asylum seekers were then taken to Pagani detention camp on Lesbos from where they contacted the UN through a sympathetic lawyer. The Coast Guard adding insult to harm has called the UN law suit against them an act of provocation.
 26.08.09 Greece

17 May 2011

Summary of 04 May 2011

Judge Steinmetz seems to be aiming for a world record in declining objections from the defence. One of the accused is having a breakdown but the court-appointed doctor declares him fit for the hearing. Witness de Wind (Dutch navy officer) appears for the 5th time and finds out that he is now being charged: the defence have pressed charges of negligence leading to death against de Wind for his statement in court, in which he identified one of the accused has having made statements on board the Tromp. The brother of the accused was murdered in Somalia a few days later. The statements were classified as secret by the Dutch navy. The defence argues that De Wind should have known that him identifying the accused publicly in court would endanger his family, therefore his behaviour was grossly negligent.

Report from 20 April 2011

German Professor Volker Matthies appeared as an expert witness to explain the situation in Somalia. The fact that he hadn't been to Somalia in the last 20 years didn't stop him from explaining his theories about:
  • Piracy and the decline of the State
  • Piracy and the economic situation in Somalia
  • Piracy in relation to the international organisations and companies.

He declares that his information comes from NGOs and media reports. The judge explains that it had been very hard to find experts on the subject.
Everything Matthies said has been said many times and better in public talks on the subject. We therefore won't repeat it here.

Spring in the Park

"Friends of Subsistence Piracy" and "No-One is Illegal" invite you to a spring rally in the park (Planten un Blomen, entrance Jungiusstr.) outside the Hamburg Remand Prison on

Saturday, 22. May 2011, 3 pm - 6 pm

We want to help break the solitude of the Somali prisoners who are currently remanded there and show them that some people in Hamburg are not indifferent to their situation. Bring petanque, badminton and frisbees.

09 May 2011

A note on the Court reports

We have learned that the brother of one of the accused in Somalia has been murdered. It appears that the reason was a statement that Dutch navy officer De Wind made in court, naming one of the accused. This was reported in the media and the information travelled quickly to Somalia where an armed gang set upon the family of the accused and kidnapped and murdered his brother. The rest of his family have now fled their home.

For this reason we have decided to sometimes only give short summaries of the court proceedings and not to name any of the accused or their lawyers.

Report from 11 April 2011

Weapons live and in colour, another police witness, applications by the defence and court decisions.

First up, a display of weapons that were found on the Taipan and which had been shown on photos: RPGs, AK47s, pistols , ammunition and cell phones. Every item is held up for everyone to see, especially the cell phones, which appear to be very dangerous. No one has any questions so all the guns are packed away again, a process for which the court room has to be cleared.

Report from 4 April 2011

Today, the team leader of the special commando on board the Tromp gave evidence. He appeared under the pseudonym “Jeffrey” and was wearing make-up, a wig and a false moustache. The judges asked several questions regarding the type of ammunition that was used. He stated that only .50, 7.62 and 9mm were used.

Report from 30 March 2011

The commander of the Dutch helicopter, H.W.M. Veldhuizen gave evidence about the mission to board the Taipan. Lots of detailed questions were asked about the ratio of live ammunition to tracer ammunition, the range of the helicopter depending on air temperature and payload, etc. 3 communication channels existed between the Tromp, the helicopter and another surveillance plane. Some communication transcripts were read out. From that it appears that at some stage the helicopter was ordered to gain height because the Tromp was about to fire shots from a 40 mm gun at the Taipan.