§ 129 is threatening the freedom of research and teaching

Letter to Attorney of the German Federal Supreme Court

Der Generalbundesanwalt beim Bundesgerichtshof
Brauerstraße 30
D-76137 Karlsruhe

To the Attorney of the German Federal Supreme Court,

We are writing to express our grave concern with the abuse of democracy and freedom recently committed by the German government against Andrej Holm and other individuals, for alleged membership in, or support of, a so-called "militante gruppe."

Planning Action is a group of urban planners, architects and activists who work with diverse communities in Toronto, Canada, struggling against economic, cultural, and ecological injustice. We address issues relating to public space, gentrification, social polarization and exclusion. Our work spans academic, professional, community, and activist initiatives, and our membership is also drawn from these diverse fields. We believe that engaged citizenship in the city demands both active intellectual and social involvement. In Canada academics are an important part of networks and actions for social change.

We write with deep dismay about the recent actions of the German government. The surveillance and incarceration of activists and researchers concerned with issues of social justice in the city is deeply troubling. Healthy democratic governance requires both academic critique and practical contestation. These combined activities allow us to envision and work towards positive change.

What is currently taking place in Germany undermines democratic citizenship and intellectual freedom, and criminalizes dissent. It is not only a gross injustice against the individuals being persecuted, but the precedent this could set compromises the rights and freedoms of progressive social movements globally.

The Federal Prosecutor, through applying Article § 129, is threatening the freedom of research and teaching as well as democratic practice. We demand the immediate suspension of the § 129a-proceedings again all parties concerned and the release of the imprisoned at once.

Yours sincerely,

Deborah Cowen, University of Toronto
Heather McLean, York University
Ute Lehrer, York University
Sue Bunce
Amy Siciliano, University of Toronto
Vanessa Parlette, University of Toronto
Douglas Young, York University
Paul Jackson, University of Toronto

On behalf of Planning Action, Toronto
info [at] planningaction.org