[Reader-list] [Fwd: HIC: Urgent call to Action: Solidarity with a german activist inhousing and other political prisoners from inhabitants andpeoples' organizations]]

Monica Narula monica at sarai.net
Thu Aug 16 14:42:55 IST 2007

Now urban researchers can be deemed terrorists, apparently, because  
they "have not limited their
research findings to an ivory tower, but have made their expertise
available to citizens’ initiatives and tenants’ organizations."


-------- Original-Nachricht --------
Betreff: HIC: Urgent call to Action: Solidarity with a german activist
in	housing and other political prisoners from inhabitants and	peoples'
Datum: Fri, 10 Aug 2007 19:37:52 -0400
Von: Ana Sugranyes <gs at hic-net.org>
An: hic  Postino <hic-members at ilpostino.jpberlin.de>


Source: Knut Unger (email: knut.unger at habitat-netz.de)

Colleagues from INURA Berlin (HIC Members) have put together various
materials in order to raise international attention and support
regarding the case of the 7 persons accused (out of which 4 were jailed)
last week in Berlin for alleged suspected 'memberships of a terrorist
3 of these are fellow urban researchers, one of whom, an activist in
housing and tenants movements who is currently in jail, has agreed to be
Andrej Holm, urban sociologist and established researcher on
gentrification in Berlin.

Please find below a statement in English, which INURA is trying to
circulate in academic and related circles in order to build
international support.
Next week we will try to send more informations and reports about
reactions and political background

On 31st July 2007 seven persons were charged by the Attorney of the
German Federal Supreme Court for alleged suspected 'memberships of a
association'. Four of these have since been in pre-trial confinement in
a Berlin jail. Three of the seven accused individuals are fellow urban
researchers, one of whom, who is currently in jail, has agreed to be  

Andrej Holm, urban sociologist and established researcher on
gentrification in Berlin.

An OPEN LETTER hereunder and attached, summarising the background of the
case, the arguments used by the Attorney of the German Federal Supreme
Court and the demand made by the solidarity movement.

Individuals or organisations are invited to demonstrate support by  
protest letters, petitions and declarations to the Attorney of the  
Federal Supreme Court, i.e.:

Der Generalbundesanwalt beim Bundesgerichtshof
c/o Ermittlungsrichter Hebenstreit
Herrenstraße 45
D-76133 Karlsruhe


Der Generalbundesanwalt beim Bundesgerichtshof
Brauerstraße 30
D-76137 Karlsruhe
Fax + 49 7 21 819 14 92
eMail: presse at generalbundesanwalt.de  
<mailto:presse at generalbundesanwalt.de>

An e-mail address has been set up by the Berlin colleagues who are
action around Andrej Holm and the other accused: it would be helpful if
individuals and organisations could send a message to this address to  
the Berlin colleagues about the support action they are taking
(solidarity addresses, declarations that are to be published) and
address any question they
may have: kontaktschuld at so36.net

For information, the German lawyer and press contact for the accused,
including Andrej Holm, is:
Wolfgang Kaleck
D-10405 Berlin
Phone: +49-(0)30-4467-9218
Fax: +49-(0)30-4467-9220

In short, the main demands of the solidarity movement are:
- Release of the prisoners
- Stop the proceedings under § 129a of German penal law
- End the § 129, 129a, and 129b laws
- Stop criminalizing progressive research and action

Der Generalbundesanwalt beim Bundesgerichtshof**
c/o Ermittlungsrichter Hebenstreit**
Herrenstraße 45**
D-76133 Karlsruhe**

Der Generalbundesanwalt beim Bundesgerichtshof*
Brauerstraße 30*
D-76137 Karlsruhe*

Open letter against the criminalization of critical academic research
and political engagement*

On 31st July 2007 the flats and workplaces of Dr. Andrej Holm and Dr.
Matthias B., as well as of two other persons, were searched by the
police. Dr. Andrej Holm was arrested, flown by helicopter to the German
Federal Court in Karlsruhe and brought before the custodial judge. Since
then he has been held in pretrial confinement in a Berlin jail. All four
people have been charged with “membership in a terrorist association
according to § 129a StGB” (German Penal Code, section 7 on ‘Crimes
against Public Order’). They are alleged to be members of a so-called
/‘militante gruppe’ (mg). /The text of the search warrant revealed that
preliminary proceedings against these four people have been going on
since September 2006 and that the four had since been under constant

A few hours before the house searches, Florian L., Oliver R. und Axel H.
were arrested in the Brandenburg/ /region and accused of attempted arson
on four vehicles of the German Federal Army. Andrej Holm is alleged to
have met one of these three persons on two occasions in the first half
of 2007 in supposedly “conspiratorial circumstances”.

The Federal Prosecutor (/Bundesanwaltschaft/) therefore assumes that the
four above mentioned persons as well as the three individuals arrested
in Brandenburg are members of a “militant group,” and is thus
investigating all seven on account of suspected “membership in a
terrorist association” according to §129a StGB.

According to the arrest warrant against Andrej Holm, the charge made
against the above mentioned four individuals is presently justified on
the following grounds, in the order that the federal prosecutor has
listed them:

- Dr. Matthias B. is alleged to have used, in his academic publications,
“phrases and key words” which are also used by the ‘/militante gruppe’;/

- As political scientist holding a PhD, Matthias B. is seen to be
intellectually capable to “author the sophisticated texts of the
‘/militante gruppe’ (mg)”./ Additionally, “as employee in a research
institute he has access to libraries which he can use inconspicuously in
order to do the research necessary to the drafting of texts of the
/‘militante gruppe’”;/

- Another accused individual is said to have met with suspects in a
conspiratorial manner: “meetings were regularly arranged without,
however, mentioning place, time and content of the meetings”;
furthermore, he is said to have been active in the “extreme left-wing

- In the case of a third accused individual, an address book was found
which included the names and addresses of the other three accused;

- Dr. Andrej H., who works as urban sociologist, is claimed to have
close contacts with all three individuals who have been charged but
still remain free;

- Dr. Andrej H. is alleged to have been active in the “resistance
mounted by the extreme left-wing scene against the World Economic Summit
of 2007 in Heiligendamm”;

- The fact that he – allegedly intentionally -- did not take his mobile
phone with him to a meeting is considered as “conspiratorial behavior”.

Andrej H., as well as Florian L., Oliver R. and Axel H., are detained
since 1st August 2007 in Berlin-Moabit under very strict conditions:
they are locked in solitary confinement 23 hours a day and are allowed
only one hour of courtyard walk. Visits are limited to a total of half
an hour every two weeks. Contacts, including contacts with lawyers, are
allowed only through separation panes. The mail of the defense is  

The charges described in the arrest warrants reveal a construct based on
very dubious reasoning by analogy. The reasoning involves four basic
hypotheses, none of which the Federal High Court could substantiate with
any concrete evidence, but through their combination they are to leave
the impression of a “terrorist association”. The social scientists,
because of their academic research activity, their intellectual
capacities and their access to libraries, are said to be the brains of
the alleged “terrorist organization”. For, according to the Federal
prosecutor, an association called /“militante gruppe”/ is said to use
the same concepts as the accused social scientists. As evidence for this
reasoning, the concept of “gentrification” is named - one of the key
research themes of Andrej Holm und Matthias B. in past years, about
which they have published internationally. They have not limited their
research findings to an ivory tower, but have made their expertise
available to citizens’ initiatives and tenants’ organizations.* This is
how critical social scientists are constructed as intellectual gang

Since Andrej Holm has friends, relatives and colleagues, they now also
are suspect to be “terrorists”, because they know Andrej. Another
accused individual was blamed for having the names of Andrej Holm and of
two others charged (but not jailed) in his address book. Since the
latter are also deemed to be “terrorists” – *this is how “guilt by
association” is established.*

Paragraph § 129a, introduced in Germany in 1976, makes it possible for
our colleagues to be criminalized as “terrorists”. *This is how, through
§ 129a, the existence of a “terrorist group” is claimed.*

Through these constructs, every academic research activity and political
work is presented as potentially criminal – in particular when
politically engaged colleagues who intervene in social struggles are
concerned. *This is how critical research, in particular research linked
with political engagement, is turned into ideological ring leadership
and “terrorism”.*

We demand that the Federal Prosecutor (/Bundesanwaltschaft/) immediately
suspend the *§ *129a-proceedings against all parties concerned and
release Andrej Holm and the other imprisoned from jail at once. We
strongly reject the outrageous accusation that the academic research
activities and the political engagement of Andrej Holm are to be viewed
as complicity in an alleged “terrorist association”. No arrest warrant
can be deduced from the academic research and political work of Andrej
Holm. The Federal Prosecutor, through applying Article § 129, is
threatening the freedom of research and teaching as well as
social-political engagement.



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