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Info on animal rights arrests in Austria

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  • wildtimber2112@aol.com
    ELP Information Bulletin (28th May 2008) Dear friends ELP has some further information about the recent animal rights raids & arrests in Austria. First off,
    Message 1 of 1 , May 28, 2008
      ELP Information Bulletin (28th May 2008)
      Dear friends
      ELP has some further information about the recent animal rights raids & arrests in Austria.
      First off, a solidarity network is being set up for the defendants.  The solidarity network have launched a website which although mainly written in German does have some English language information on it.  For more information on the solidarity network check out http://www.antirep2008.tk/

      Secondly, the following update about the arrests was circulated yesterday:
      Several Austrian animal rights organizations raided
      and 10 activists arrested.

      On Wednesday morning, May 21, 2008 at 6.00 a.m. the
      police with battering rams demanded the doors to be
      opened of several animal rights activists' homes,
      appartments and offices in different towns of Austria.
      The places were intensely searched, computers, mobile
      phones, videos, cameras, photos,
      video tapes, papers, records, databases, and much more
      have been confiscated.

      Ten animal rights activists have been arrested and
      are being held in custody. According to the state
      prosecution service their first hearing will be in 2

      Members of the organizations BAT, VGT, VGÖ, WTV, Vier
      Pfoten, and other private persons are amongst the

      The organisations BAT, VGT, RespekTiere and TierWege
      have been left without basic means to continue their
      legal work. They cannot communicate, because all phone
      numbers were in the confiscated mobile phones, and
      email addresses were in the computers, as well as data
      to update their websites. It is not even possible for
      them, at this point, to collect donations from their
      members to set up new technical infrastructure,
      because even the members' database were taken with the
      seized materials.

      The police have stated that the examination of the
      computers will probably only start next year, because
      they are very busy.

      Official reason for this is the dubious Austrian Law ?
      278a StGB that describes the ?Formation of a criminal
      body?. In the newspapers rumors are spread about
      butyric-acid and arson attacks in the ongoing legal
      campaign against fur-selling fashion-chain Kleider
      Bauer. Apart from general unclear suspicions the state
      prosecution has not given any concrete evidence
      against the detainees.

      The Austrian animal rights scene has gained in
      reputation during the last years. Quite a number of
      animal protection scandals have been uncovered,
      where people up to the highest positions in politics
      and media were involved.

      Cause and effect of these sudden events can be
      questioned. It is clear that actions performed by all
      groups disturb several powerful people, Kleider Bauer
      directly, but also others who want to
      maintain their profits in businesses or political
      positions, be this in the fur or circus industry,
      factory farming, hunting lobby, etc.

      Aganist their will and contrary to Austrian law DNA
      samples have been taken from at least 2 of the
      detainees. In both cases these samples were taken

      In various countries and in varios cities 'Solidarity
      Demos' have been taking place and are likely to

      Not only Austrian organisations are alarmed. Democracy
      once more has been abused, and those fighting for the
      rights of those, who themselves have no voice to
      raise, again endure character assassination, being
      called criminals and terrorists, instead of what they
      really are ? animal rights activists, people who try
      to be a voice for the voiceless.

      May 27, 2008

      Finally, the below Press Release was circulated today about the arrests.
      Press Release, 28 May, 2008:

      Austria. Indefensible Attack against Animal Welfare

      Twenty-four House and Office Raids, Ten Arrests, No
      Concrete Charges, and a String of Human Rights
      Violations result in Seven People on Hungerstrike

      The morning of 21st May saw the first massive raid
      from police against the animal welfare movement
      through out the whole of Austria.

      A total of twenty-four homes and offices of animal
      welfare activists and organisations were raided by
      police at 6.15 a.m., Harald Balluch, managing director
      of the VGT (Association against Animal Factories)
      described the scene in his flat. “I awoke to the sound
      of the door being broken in, immediately a group of
      armed and masked people surrounded my bed where my
      girlfriend and I were sleeping and aimed their weapons
      at us. They screamed at me that they would shoot me in
      the head if I moved. We have two elderly rescued dogs,
      who were brutally manhandled. As you can imagine, all
      four of us were absolutely terrified.

      Seven organisations have been affected and ten people
      were taken into custody. Police have justified this
      action by saying that the campaigners are suspected of
      belonging to a criminal organisation §278a of the
      Austrian criminal code. However, after a week of
      keeping these people in custody no charges have been
      made against them.

      Improvements for animals achieved by the Austrian
      movement have set a world wide example

      The animal welfare movement in Austria has achieved a
      great deal for animals in the last years. The success
      list includes a ban on fur farms, a ban on wild
      animals in circuses, a ban on caged rabbits used for
      meat and a ban on battery cages for chickens. Austria
      is regarded world wide as one of, if not the most
      impressive country in terms of animal welfare.These
      successes are entirely down to researching the
      conditions that animals are kept in, giving the public
      access to this information and political lobbying.
      Harald Balluch distances himself and the VGT from any
      illegal activities.” This police action is designed to
      discredit the work being done for animals. The
      intention is to damage the reputation of animal
      campaigners and campaign work. Through the police
      raids, our office along with four others, has been
      brought to a stand still. Our computers with our
      complete data bank have been taken along with all our
      mobile phones and years of research material. We have
      no possibility of contacting our supporters. Our phone
      and fax lines were also out of order for sometime
      after the raid making contact with media impossible.”

      A String of human rights violations

      Lawyers representing the ten campaigners have issued
      formal complaints against the police concerning a
      string of human rights violations. These include
      detention without being charged for all those on
      remand, unnecessary force used by the police during
      the house raids and DNA samples being taken from two
      of the detainees against their will using force.

      Hunger Strike

      In an effort to protest against this injustice, seven
      of the people on remand are on hunger strike. Their
      request for diluted fruit juice was denied, so they
      are just drinking water

      Martin Balluch’s family and girlfriend, who were
      allowed to visit him for the first time on 27th May,
      on the seventh day after his arrest, commented after
      seeing Martin “We were absolutely horrified by
      Martin’s condition. This is now his seventh day on
      hunger strike and his movements and speech are
      extremely weak and slow.”

      Please show your support for human rights by writing
      protest mails to the following Austrian politicians.
      These random acts of police repression could happen to
      any one of us, who cares about how animals are

      Home Secretary; Dr Günter Platter
      Minister for Justice; Frau Dr Berger
      Federal President; Dr Heinz Fischer
      Federal Chancellor; Dr Alfred Gusenbauer

      Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network
      BM Box 2407
      WC1N 3XX
      “Today’s terrorist is tomorrow’s freedom fighter.”
      — SHAC leader Kevin Kjonaas, at the Animal Rights 2002 convention

      Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/humansrcruel




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