German Prosecution starts investigation into the digital Radikal.
On monday the 2nd of september the BRD State Prosecution started an official investigation against 'unknown distributors' of the Radikal-magazine on the Internet. These 'unknown distributors' are suspected of violating the German law:
Par. 129a Abs. 3 StGB : Recruiting for an illegal terrorist organisation,
Par. 140 Nr. 2 StGB : Approval of criminal offences,
Par. 130a Abs. 1 StGB : Calling for criminal acts.
The digital version of the Radikal is accessible through computers in the Netherlands and the United States.
Besides this legal investigation, the German BAW (prosecution office) has ordered German Internet Providers to block the access to the digital version of the Radikal. A number of providers and associations of providers has given in to this call. This means that all websites of XS4ALL-clients in the Netherlands and of DataRealm-clients in the USA. have been made inaccessible for German Internet users. In reaction to this German attempt to censor the Internet mirrorsites (identical copies) of the Radikal have been put on various computers throughout the world.
Since December 1995 we, the Solidaritygroup Political Prisoners, have added the full edition of the in Germany illegal magazine Radikal to our homepage on the World Wide Web. On this moment major parts of number 153 and the full edition of number 154 are accessible through the World Wide Web. We decided to do this after a renewed attempt (one of many over the years) of the German authorities to silence the Radikal.
The Radikal is a magazine made by and for the radical left movement in the BRD. The magazine was set up in the mid '70-ies as a means of communication between various left-wing organisations. After a series of homesearches, arrests and long-time prison sentences, it was clear for the makers that they couldn't continue the magazine on the same basis. It was decided then to make the future editions of the magazine outside the view of the German authorities.
Because the German Prosecution couldn't localise the makers of Radikal, a short period of quietness followed in which no policeraids etc. took place. Than trouble started anew. This time it were not the makers of the magazine who were targeted, but the persons who sold the magazine, bookshops and infocafe's. Through the years there have been hundreds of policeraids, numerous arrests and many people have spent months and years in jail for 'supporting a terrorist organisation' (i.e. distribution of the Radikal). As a result of these experiences the distribution of the Radikal is no longer organised through bookshops etc., but through a underground network.
Mid June 1995 the German Prosecution stroke again. All over Germany special units of the police stormed, often with drawn guns, a great number of houses and left-wing centres. Four people were arrested and charged with membership of a terrorist organisation (i.e. making and distributing the Radikal). Four others, who were not at home at the time of the police raid, went underground. An enormous amount of things were confiscated by the police. It was striking that the police especially looked for digital information. More than thousand floppydisc's and various computers were taken for further research. The people arrested were held in detention under remand for six months and were only released after payment of 20.000 DM bail p.p. and a whole set of conditions they had to comply with.
Exactly one year after the raids on June 13 1996, three of the four persons in hiding (Uli, Jutta and Frank) turned themselves in. Supported by 250 sympathisers they reported themselves at a German court after a pressconference. (Matthes, the fourth person in hiding, stayed away, because he is also being charged with membership of the AIZ, the Anti Imperialist Cell's.) At the court the three persons were taken into detention under remand after which their lawyer filed a petition for immediate release on grounds of the fact that there was no reason that the suspects would again run away and that after one year there's no longer any risk that the suspects would destroy any evidence.
The petition was only partially successful. On June 15 Uli and Jutta were released, again with a lot of conditions. They had to hand in their passports, had to report themselves three times a week at the police, were not allowed any contact with anybody against whom an investigation was going on with regard to the Radikal and they had to pay a bail of 20.000 DM each.
Frank is until now held in isolation under aggravated circumstances. The Prosecution claims to have proof that he collaborated on the release of Radikal editions 153 & 154 during his period in hiding. Up till now his lawyers were not allowed look into his dossier.
New actions against the Radical took place on June 17 this year when in a number of German cities again houses were searched by the police. This time persons suspected of having a subscription to the Radikal were targeted. By way of their payments they were accused of supporting a terrorist organisation. Besides this they were suspected of letting others read the Radikal (recruiting for a terrorist organisation). For us this was another reason to put the latest issue (154) of the Radikal again on the Internet.
Despite the fact that we, the Solidaritygroup Political Prisoners (SPG) Amsterdam, declared before that we put the Radikal on Internet, the German Prosecution started an investigation against 'unknown persons'. This is a frequently used strategy. With an investigation on name, the Prosecution can only get permission to tap the phones etc. of a limited amount of people, while an investigation against 'persons unknown' gives them much more possibilities. With this in mind it wouldn't surprise us if one of these days in Germany the police will again kick in a lot of doors in relation with the investigation against us.
The German Prosecution seems to be pretty confident at the moment and states that from the confiscated goods, they managed to compile a lot of information about the Radikal, her makers (m/f) and her structures. But we wonder if they are going to be equally confident about their actions against the digital Radikal. Censorship on the Internet creates best-sellers. With respect to the Internet this is a very important case. For the first time a European government tries to censor political news on the Internet. (Until now such action was only directed against porn on the Internet.) If the German Prosecution succeeds in their attempts to censor the Internet, the Radikal will be the first but definitely not the last. Fortunately there are many people active around the theme of censorship on the Internet and though they don't all support us ideologically, many declare themselves to sympathise with the struggle for the continuation of the Radikal on the Internet and accordingly place copies of the magazine on their Websites. On this moment the Radikal is already accessible through more than twenty addresses over the whole world. If the German Prosecution wants to sustain their attempts to block the digital Radikal they will have to block all these providers and will finally block Germany from the rest of the Internet.
Read the Radikal now at:
And naturally as usual at: http://www.xs4all.nl/~tank/radikal/
From here we want to wish Frank in prison and Matthes where ever he is lots of strength. The struggle continues !!
Please write to Frank (he will probably be replaced to Koln soon). His
temporary address is :
p/a Ermittlungsrichter Wolst am BGH
(All post will be read and censored by the police!)
Solidariteitsgroep Politieke Gevangenen, (SPG Amsterdam).