14 August 2011

Court declines application for bail!

The court has declinded all the applications for bail which were made before the summer break. A press release from 'One World Network', 'No One Is Illegal' and the 'Third World Harbour Group' follows. 

Press release 12 August 2011
Court declines application for bail!
Aiding and abetting escape through observing the trial?

The Hamburg court is obviously running out of reasons to keep the 10 accused Somali in custody: instead of ending the inappropriately long remand in custody, the court has pulled out of the hat a new reason for the alleged flight risk of the defendants. People who have expressed solidarity and who have been monitoring the trial have been slandered. The court is suggesting that these people would also aid and abet the defendants absconding the trial. “Those we would like to help escape the country are the prosecutor and the judge” says Michaela Goedeke from the group 'No One Is Illegal' in Hamburg.

Apart from keeping silent about the sources for its absurd accusations, the court was also defaming solidarity and the monitoring of the trial, say the groups 'One World Network', 'No One Is Illegal' and the 'Third World Harbour Group'.

The ten accused, who are charged with having hijacked the ship Taipan in April 2010, have been remanded in custody for 14 months. After a lengthy break, the trial will resume on August 15. The response to previous applications for bail has been to make a defendant older through ignoring their Somali birth certificate and to step up the charges.

Some of the defence counsel, as well as people monitoring the trial, have long been criticising the double standards. The youth defendants have been on remand for an extraordinary long period compared to German youths. The usual length of remand in Hamburg is six months. Also, educational measures provided for in youth law have been denied.

The young Somali in Hahn√∂fersand prison have been asking for a long time to have more than one hour of German lessons every two weeks. A German teacher has offered to teach more hours to both them and other prisoners. However, the prison management and the court appear to be united in their paranoid fear of solidarity: the free offer of German lessons has been declined with the spurious argument of “equal treatment for all prisoners”.

Other, equally spurious grounds for the assumed flight risk include the fact that there is a Somali diaspora in Europe, which sends money to Somalia and could enable the defendants to abscond. Also, the defendants would only receive temporary visas.

Other remand prisoners – those who were not brought to Germany from Somalia – have friends, family and money here. And there are many diaspora in Europe, with most of them sending money to their homelands. There are other remand prisoners who also only have temporary visas and still are released on bail after a few months.

The defence have made it clear that there is no real flight risk, that the defendants would follow bail conditions and attend the trial. Even the prospect of a long sentence and temporary residence status would not make them want to return to Somalia. Somalia is a land at war and some of the defendants have lost contact with their families who have fled their homes.

'No One Is Illegal', the 'Third World Harbour Group', and the 'One World Network' will not allow the court to play off the defendants against those showing solidarity. They demand an end to the trial, the immediate release of the defendants and an end to the defamation of those monitoring the trial.