Federal Prosecution subpoenas witnesses in the 129a case "militant group"

Witness group / Legal Team Berlin
Gneisenaustr. 2a
10961 Berlin
030/692 22 22
keine-zeuginnen [at] so36.net
Press Contact: +49 157/72 13 67 63

Berlin, 15th of October 2007

Since Wednesday 10th October the Federal Prosecution has issued more than ten people with a subpoena to act as witnesses in the 129a case against Florian, Axel, Andrej and three other accused individuals.

Without awaiting the decision of the Court, the Federal Prosecution has arbitrarily begun to issue subpoenas. We are aware of ten cases which include individuals who have some form of connection to the accused as well as members of the public with whom no connection is in any way apparent. "Obviously the Federal Prosecution requires new material before the decision is taken because they do not have sufficient evidence," Beate Beckman of the Berlin Legal Team (Ermittlungsausschuss) said. This shows that mere contact to one of the accused can draw people into a terrorism case.

Individuals who have received subpoenas are legally required to give statements. If they refuse to answer questions, they face fines or even custodial sentences. Such an imprisonment for contempt of the Court makes it possible for innocent people to be detained for up to six months, simply because they may not be willing to support the Government's terrorism construct, thereby incriminating a friend or subjecting their own private life to investigation.

It remains unclear where these interrogations will lead. They could possibly serve the purpose of creating witnesses or even further suspects. The conflict between such coercive methods and the danger of unwittingly aiding an intransparent case places immense pressure on the people affected.

At present it remains unclear whether further subpoenas will be issued by the Federal Prosecution.

Notes to the Editors:

On June 31st 2007 Oliver, Florian and Axel were arrested. The police accused them of an attempted arson attack on three German military vehicles. Additionally, Andrej was arrested at home. He is accused of meeting with one of the other accused twice in a conspiratorial manner. All seven individuals are accused of membership in a terrorist organisation (militant group) under the anti-terrorism legislation § 129a.

Andrej was released on bail after a few weeks and has since had to report regularly. The Federal Prosecution has lodged an appeal against his release, which the Federal Court of Justice has not yet responded to. The Court has declared that it is currently deliberating whether the case will continue to be dealt with under the charge of membership in a terrorist organisation or whether further investigations will be carried out with respect to alleged arson.