Category Archives: repression

Antifenix pamphlet. The Fenix verdict: Defendants acquitted

Check out this pdf produced by comrades in the Czech Republic…3 years of lack of evidence – 3 years that fucked up our lives (DOWNLOAD .PDF FILE HERE)

The Fenix case uproar, consists of a lot of accusations of many crimes, ranging from the one of so-called “promotion of terrorism” to the one of preparation of terrorist attacks. These are the ones that were most discussed at the latest Municipal Court Hearing in Prague. During their verdict, the judge acquitted all the five defendants of the Fenix 1 case. Is it a victory? Why this decision isn’t final? Followed article is a translation of a month old overview over the court hearings and some analyses of our situation and experience, originally written in Czech language.

This long court hearing was about five anarchists, three of them accused of plotting a terrorist attack on a train carrying military paraphernalia. Two of them were accused of knowing about such plans and not having stopped the presumed authors. Two of these five people were also accused of preparing an attack with Molotov cocktails on police cars during the eviction of the Cibulka squat. Basically, according to the deployed police agents, there are in total five people and three different crimes involved. (And all this is just for Fenix 1, because some of these people are facing further accusations in the context of Fenix 2).
In the group where the five accused were involved, there were two police agent
infiltrators. These two individuals actively prepared both attacks and they also
partly started them up. However, the judge did not identify their actions as a provocation just because the materials that would detect the provocation are not available.

The Judge, Her Hon. Hana Hrncirova, stressed that she acquitted all the defendants precisely because of lack of sufficient evidence. She highlighted the lack of transparency of police’s work: “The reason why the court took such decision is the fact that during the evidence assessment the judge expressed strong doubts over the police transparency in their methods both before the commencement of the criminal prosecution and when it was legally permitted to involve the deployed agents in the case,” she said.
The judge stressed that the police acted without having a warrant for months and when the defense attorney asked for the records of their activity, the police did not have them: ” The court has no trace of such records, not even one” the judge said. Then she said: “The Defense attorney has tried to get these materials because it can be assumed that, on the grounds of these individual permits, there must be some records somewhere. Such records were never included in the file.”

According to what the police said, the materials from the first months of infiltration “are not existing or cannot be used”. Then, we have another stack of files that are existing, files with a transcript of taped down cell phone communication, and can indeed be used. Especially to prove that the secret agents, the infiltration and the construction of the case are not a matter of the past as we hear very often. Comic was the moment, when the judge raised this stack over her head (it is a volume of about 400 A4 pages) and said that from all these transcripts not a single thing has any value as evidence.

The decision is not final because the state prosecutor Pazourek felt that he still has not destroyed people’s life enough and appealed on site. As a former police officer, he believes that the police has acted correctly and hopes that the higher Court of Appeal will confirm his opinion. Surely, he will do his utmost best to find something that “must be there and can be used”. We can then just hope that this hunter of anarchists (who is also the one who proposed at least 12 years in jail for charged ones in Fenix) and also plays role in Fenix 2 will have elements with no value of evidence in the next trial as well.

Unlike Pazourek, The Minister of inferior, gun lover, social democrat, Josef Chovanec, does not have time to wait for the Higher court. The Parliamentary Elections are approaching and he has to give priority to polishing his image, presenting himself as a fair and just daddy. And therefore, after three years, he has suddenly noticed that in the Fenix case something “is not quite right”. In his “Twitter” profile he dropped a few comments by making reference to facts belonging to Czech history: “If it proves, that it was just police provocation, I will ask for a thorough investigation case and a punishment of the culprits. The police of such a democratic state […] cannot arbitrarily destroy the lives of people, and this is regardless of their political thinking.. I hope that the “Omladina trial [1]” belongs to our history and not to our present.” Too bad that he was not there saying such words when, at the time of Martin Ignacak’s imprisonment, main detective Palfiova, looking at the file, stated: “we can do everything!”.

Whether Chovanec himself is directly and or partly responsible for the process against the anarchist movement or not, we do not know and it will take long time before we find out. Surely, if the court would sent the five people behind bars we can bet that he will tap his guys’ shoulders “for the good job they have done”. Now, when the contrary happened, he can blame for their mistakes and abuse of power just a couple of individuals out of a police and punitive apparatus that is otherwise “spotless” and “helpful to all the community”.

The lack of evidence wins
For many of us the Court’s verdict is a relief. For a moment we can breathe, meet up for dinner, and see our friends in a more relaxed state of mind outside the prison walls. These moments are important in life and it is good that we can enjoy them. Prison is a useless institution, it divides relationships, isolates people and destroys lives. This is why the verdict, no matter how much more pleasant than “guilty”, is not a total win for us. We do not forget what three years of infiltration and later investigation meant. Ales, Martin, and Peter have all been incarcerated for 27 months in total, Lukas – 7 months, and before that he had been one year underground. All of them with still awaiting trials (appeal of Fenix 1 and for some of them and two more comrades Fenix 2) Some of them with possible life sentences still in the air. Let’s not forget about Igor, who is today found innocent, was in the hardest custody for three months, is still facing hard restrictions and had been reporting to the probation services for almost year and a half. On top of that, he is still at risk of deportation from the Czech Republic due by his stay in custody.

The families, friends and closest people of the defendants and imprisoned, as well as those who are directly affected by the Fenix case, are facing a great deal of emotional pressure and separation. The Police broke in in several flats and has been taking more and more people for interrogations. The police is using practices in their powers such as taking people to the forest, threatening the partners and the parents of the suspects. A list of what has been done during the various repressive actions (and we are only talking about the last three years on the anti-authoritarian scene in so called Czech Republic) would probably be long and scary.

In short, it is clear that there is nothing to celebrate. The need to smash the oppressive system is still in the game, just there is need to think about a better strategy and find new ways how to fight. In cases like the Fenix, it is necessary to understand what this is really about. From the very beginning, we said that the police is not primarily after long imprisonments of single anarchists. The Repressive units are not afraid of us alone, nor they dont’t fear of Martin, Peter, Sasha, Ales, Katarína, Radka, Igor, Lukas, Ales and the other defendants. What scares them is that more and more people would come out by identifying with our ideas, especially if they start using a wider variety of tactics. The protectors of the status quo invest a lot of strengths, energy and resources to keep people in the belief that this is the freedom they dream for.

Anti-authoritarian and anarchists people that believe that we can live our lives in a more genuine way than the one offered by neo-liberalism and that we do not need State and Politics, can offer an alternative which could interfere with this consumerist life-style. Repression is then seen as the ideal tool to suppress ideas. And by them the state apparatus wants to discredit us through sensationalist media and labeling us as terrorists, to intimidate us by using imprisonment and to divide the movement between “the radicals” and the “the nonviolent ones” and place us against each other. Paralyze us with paranoia.

The question is where this attempt of repression is successful and in which points we can work on ourselves. How not to fall into traps that are invisible at first sight and how to tear down walls in our heads. The walls inside ourselves and between us and other people. How to break these walls and build bridges out of them. How to overcome fear, obtain what are fighting for and respect each other. And last but not least, how not to fall in the urge of winning in a game that is not ours and which only takes us away from important things and activities.

The Fenix case has become a crucial point in the lives of many of us. We can learn a lot from it. Take it as a point of reference to better understand how the power structures work and to understand each others as well as to critically analyze our own mistakes. We do not want to pretend that we have the answers to all the questions out there. But we have learned one thing. If we want our actions and our organizing to be really effective and dangerous for the structures of oppression that keep us under control, these must come from collective discussions and negotiations that go beyond the outlines given by the state. We learned that there is no point to hide from repression, it is better to be ready to face it and create conditions that will make such operations inactive. As long as people are put in jail first and it is discussed whether this is the right measure to implement or not only after the imprisonment, there is a reason to keep on fighting. That is not to say that if the legal proceedings happen in the opposite order the issue is solved, rather that we need to imagine an entirely different world. A world without prisons, borders and police where we must really solve the problems ourselves rather then hidding them behind the walls.

Fenix is not an operation targeting a few naive anarchists, but an attack to the future of subversion as a whole. It is also a demonstration of Police power and of the work of the secret state agents in democracy we hear as synonymous to freedom so often.

Do not get caught!

In Solidarity, Anarchist Black Cross, Prague, Autumn Equinox 2017.

“My pillar values are: Life, Justice, Freedom, and Equality. People who construct cases and want to imprison people hardly understand such values. I am ready for any verdict, and I will take it holding my head high. A verdict that will affect my life and the life of others.”
End of Martin Ignacak’s Final Speech.

Notes:

[1]In 1894, the Omladina Trial, convened in the Austro-Hungarian regional capital of Prague, ostensibly placed Czech Anarchism and Anarcho-syndicalism before the court as well as specifically convicting 68 Czech Nationalists of radical activities. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Azerbaijan: torture and 12 years of prison for anarchist graffiti

"Joyeux journée des esclaves"On May 10, 2016, two anarchists Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov were arrested by police in Baku for tagging a monument dedicated to the glory of former president, and father of the current one, Heydar Aliyev. The graffiti said “Fuck the system” and “Happy slave day”. These were painted on the evening before Aliyev’s birthday, which is a holiday in support of the state in Azerbaijan. Just tagging the statue would have earned a year in prison, but that was not enough for the police who also charged them with carrying a kilo of heroin each. Bayram was arrested around 2.30 pm as he was photographing the graffiti, and was taken to the police station where he was beaten and threatened to be raped with a stick until he signed a confession, including for drugs. He was then offered a deal: apologise by laying flowers in front of the Aliyev monument and in front of the television. The next day, he was brought in front of a judge and asked to give names of other people who were involved. The humiliations and beatings continued for several days, sometimes filmed by the police.

On the 25th of October Giyas Ibrahimov was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Bayrams trial is still outstanding, but it is to be expected that his sentence will be between eight and twelve years imprisonment. Both anarchists suffer heavy repression and torture in the prison.

qiyas-ibrahimov-tribunalWe call for solidarity with the both concerned comrades!
Freedom for Bayram and Giyas!
Freedom for all prisoners!

Get more information, and listen to Giyas’s sentencing statement, here.

More anarchists arrested in Italy

At dawn on September 6, a police operation in Turin led to the raids of around thirty houses and arrests of five anarchists, who were then charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, in regards to the FAI. The arrestees are Anna, Marco, Sandrone, Danilo and Valentina, as well as the ongoing investigations of Nicola and Alfredo, who are already imprisoned.

The eight anarchists targeted in the police operation “Scripta Manentare in four different prisons, and in high security “AS2” wings. They are all in isolation, but can receive post. Alfredo Cospito and Anna Beniamino are in hunger strike since 3 and 10 October respectively, against the isolation regime.

Here are everyone’s addresses, write to them to show that we care, and we won’t forget them!

BISESTI Marco : Strada Alessandria, 50/A – 15121 San Michele, Alessandria (AL)
MERCOGLIANO Alessandro : Strada Alessandria, 50/A – 15121 San Michele, Alessandria (AL)
BENIAMINO Anna : Via Aspromonte, 100 – 04100 – Latina LT
CREMONESE Danilo Emiliano : Str. delle Campore, 32 – 05100 Terni TR
SPEZIALE Valentina : Via Aspromonte, 100 – 04100 – Latina LT
COSPITO Alfredo et Nicola sont détenu à Ferrara AS2
CORTELLI Daniele : Str. delle Campore, 32 – 05100 Terni TR

L'opération policière "Scripta Manent"

Another Anarchist in Jail

On Sunday, September 4th, police captured our comrade Lukáš Borl. Lukáš is an anarchist who has lived in underground for about a year, due to previous intense surveillance. On Monday September 5th the court sent him to custody jail. State attorney, Naďa Voláková, commented on the case for the Czech News Agency: “I confirm the capture of a man who is accused of foundation, supporting and promoting a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms, black mail and misdemeanor of criminal damage…”

We do not yet know what exactly Lukáš is accused of. We will continue to provide updates. So far you can support him by sending a letter or by a spontaneous noise demonstration. Lukáš is held in a custody jail in the city of Litoměřice. Here is the address:

Lukáš Borl 1.3.1982
Vazební věznice Litoměřice
Veitova 1
412 81 Litoměřice

antifenix.cz
anarchistblackcross.cz

IMPRISONED ANARCHIST MARTIN IGNAČÁK HAS GONE ON HUNGER STRIKE

On Friday 27.5. 2016 in Pankrác remand prison anarchist Martin Ignačák accused of terrorism went on hunger strike. He did this because on 29.4.2016 the City court in Prague ruled in favour of his release from remand and the state’s attorney appealed this decision to the High court in Prague. On friday 27.5. 2016 the High court in Prague extended the remand. Therefore the anarchist has decided to protest by going on hunger strike and has stopped taking in nutrition and liquids. This type of hunger strike threatens the life of the hunger striker after a week.

During the year long investigation of the preparation of a supposed terrorist attack the imprisoned anarchist has exhausted all legal options, to achieve objective procedure of the respective organs active in the criminal proceedings. None of them were taken into account. This is why he now chose this radical form of expression, to draw attention to this manipulated police case. ” I consider the approach of the
investigators and the police to be very problematic, it is a threat to the freedom of every human being, a threat to freedom of speech, a threat to activism that tries to lead to a better world , and this doesn’t just involve anarchists.”

Martin is being prosecuted in the so called Fénix case from April 2015, in which altogether 5 people were accused of the preparation and the failure to notify of a terrorist attack on a train. Martin is the only one who has been in remand prison this whole time and his detention has now been extended after the intervention of the state’s attorney. As a reason for the extension of remand the state’s attorney used the testimony of a police agent who infiltrated the anarchist movement in 2014. From his testimony the state’s attorney drew the conclusion that
Martin might attempt to escape to Spain. Another reason, according to him, was that Martin ” is connected to the so called Síť revolučních buněk/ The Network of Revolutionary Cells (SRB) and therefore also to similar organizations abroad.” The police spoke about SRB when they began Fénix and provided information to the media. ” Any connections between the 5 attacks ascribed to SRB and all the detained and accused
have been refuted. The investigators themselves have ruled it out” says Martin.

At the moment Martin is the second longest detained prisoner in the Pankrác remand prison. For 13 months he lives there under conditions, that negatively affect his psychological and physical state. For example he has been refused food free of animal products, which means he practically doesn’t have access to hot food. Friends, who have come to visit him have been mentioned by name in the indictment. Police from the Department for combating organized crime have started to collect information on Martin’s sister, only because she tries to support her brother in whichever way she can.

For Martin parole would mean that after 13 long months he would again see his friends, family, nature, that he wouldn’t be exposed to emotional deprivation and physical hardship.

Update Sunday, May 29th: Martin’s sister Pavla B. joined her brother in the protest and this morning she has started hunger strike herself as well.

For more information follow antifenix.noblogs.org

Report from the court with Igor – The first court since the FENIX started

It has been just over a year since the police operation ‘Fenix’ became known to the people of Czech Republic. Just over 1 Year since the 1st arrests were made, of which Martin still remains on remand in custodial prison as a result of what appears to be entrapment. People are still being bullied, pursued and repressed on a daily basis. On 26 & 27 April was the first trial since the repression began (to our knowledge). The case of Igor Shevstov, who was accused of throwing Molotov cocktails at
the house of defense minister Stropnický, and for filming somebody graffiti the prison. He was looking at 15 years imprisonment, on top of the 3 months already served in custodial prison (remand), where he was kept under maximum security for part of the time. (read more under the Igor tab on antifenix.noblogs.org)

The Court room held the first major public display of this farce, also known as Fenix.

The trial was held in a small room, accessible to 18 people only, the majority of which were journalists. This did not prevent supporters of Igor gathering in the corridor and outside the courthouse.

After the charges were read out, the damning evidence came out. Of all the digital and printed evidence the police collected in this investigation, the judge pulled out a photo which was found on Igor’s mobile phone, a picture of his foot on a doormat of the USA flag. When questioned about why he saved this picture, Igor replied “I thought it was funny”. At this point it became clear that the prosecution were going to prey on Igor’s Russian origins as a motive for the alleged Molotov attack on the Stropnický house. – To explain, Stropnickys undying love for the west makes him a target for any Russian! In this case, Russian translates as Pro-Putin/anti-west. Igor was portrayed in the media as a crazy Russian nationalist after his arrest. The great
contradiction here is that in Russia Igor was prosecuted for unannounced demonstrations against the Russian occupation of the Crimea and against Putin’s imperialist government. And as he explained in his closing speech, simply being Russian does not automatically make you pro-Russian/some kind of Russian nationalist.

The next laugh in the courtroom was the judges interest in Igor’s
tattoos, namely the ACAB on his neck. The room erupted in laughter at his explanation. It wasn’t the last time the judge had to settle the crowds laughter.

It came as no surprise, but it still bites. The contradiction. One rule for Igor, another for Stropnicky. Like many anarchists before, Igor was forbidden to use any political argument in his defense. When Stropnický took to the stand, he completely utilized his freedom, with a mixture of politics, fear and slander, he created a monster out of Igor, exclaiming
that since the defendant moved to the Czech Republic he felt a great radicalization of society, with increased hatred from the left and the right. He referred to the alleged Molotov attack as an assassination (the media’s sensationalized term for this case) and basically said Igor’s presence in the country attributed to the rise of so called Rightist, Leftist and fundamentalist extremism. Stropnický was also the only person in the court room to openly claim to know how to make a Molotov cocktail, as learnt from an anarchist website, he described why the bottle did not ignite correctly and went on to say that his house would have been burnt to ashes in seconds had the molotovs been a success. Interesting.

What else.

Martin Stropnický and His wife Veronika Stropnická spoke of how the attack was clearly aiming for their daughters room, as though anarchists make a habit of attacking children. It is worth noting at this point that a collage containing photos of the daughters with black crosses over their faces came to the family. The family for some reason don’t think that the photos and the attack are connected. Police said they actually had some person, which was saying, that he had experience making Molotov cocktails and working for the Bernard beer company (Molotov cocktails were made out of Bernard bottles). And it was the
person, who was sending letters to Stropnicky. Police then said that this person is not suspicious and sent him to the psychiatric hospital.

The prosecution’s main evidence was the alleged scent match between Igor and the Molotov bottles. The defense requested an expert from the scientific sector on odor to testify, since this kind of evidence is seen as untrustworthy, this request was however rejected by the judge.

In defense.

Interestingly, it is facebook which was used in Igor’s defense. At the time of the attack, Igor was using facebook to communicate with his partner while being in the student club. The judge claimed that the conversations were untrustworthy and doubted the claim, since the Facebook ID is not identical to Igor’s name, and therefore it could be anybody writing there. However, to use this against Igor the prosecution should collect data, logs, and match it against Igor’s personal style of
communication, like an old fashioned handwriting test perhaps. This of course did not happen.

The Graffiti.

The prison officer brought forward the bill to repair the graffitied external prison walls.
The graffiti apparently appeared because Igor was filming it.
The invoice was 6267Kč (approx €230). 3 points worth noting, first, the purchase of materials to repair the graffiti sprayed in May 2015 took place in March 2015, secondly it was necessary to reimburse several prisoners for 96 hours of work repairing an 8.5 m2 wall. And finally the inscription “Free Nationalists” which had been there long before the event, was also cleaned and pegged on Igor’s Bill. However, the court said that Igor does not have to pay this, because there were some mistakes in the prison’s protocols about damage, they shit their own bureaucracy.

The Verdict.

13.00, 27 April 2016 the verdict was announced. The Court ruled that Igor Shevstov was not to blame for the attack on the Minister of Defense’s house. However the judge stressed that its not because it was proved that he didn’t do it, but because unfortunately they failed to prove that he did do it!

The second paragraph of the indictment; assistance in the offense of the destruction of foreign affairs (filming the graffiti). Igor was found guilty and sentenced to deportation form Czech Republic for two years, and that he must leave within 20 days. However He will appeal the decision, so he doesn’t have to leave. For now.
The camera was also forfeited to the state.

The Explanation.

The camera operator was clearly looking right and left, and thus
physically assisting the accomplices who sprayed the graffiti.
As well as, psychologically supporting “accomplices”, which means
putting up slogans in support of the people inside the prison.

Igor supposedly has no ties in Czech, no facilities or a proper visa and so the punishment of expulsion was seen as the most appropriate. The Judge failed to mention the three months Igor already spent in jail for no reason, the fact that he lost his student visa because of it, and the numerous friends he has in Czech Republic. Igor has asked for a work visa, which is giving him the right to stay in Czech until the state will most probably refuse it.

The judgment is clearly influenced by political opinion. Being exiled for two years (in Russia!) for filming somebody graffiti and for not respecting local democracy, was the best way to get rid of Igor.

The Judge did not take into account the fact that Igor had already spent three months in remand prison, for no reason, without being able to contact his loved ones.

One does not have to be an anarchist to understand why Igor dislikes “our” democracy. Just as we do not have to be from Russia to dislike the democratic states. And it is not because we want Putin’s dictatorship, (how the police, courts and the media seem to see it), but because it is still based on a regime of inequality and exclusion held by institutions and the market.

Igor himself said after the verdict that “the whole process is just politicized and the state is a dehumanized bureaucratic machine, not able to perceive real people’s bounds and interests”. This received an agreeing applause, after which the judge said that it is really the last time, otherwise she will expel the whole back row.

For more information, check antifenix.noblogs.org

Saturday 23rd April: Day of solidarity with 22 anarchists that stand trial before the appeals court in Koridallos prison

(Via Contra Info)

A few words about the appeal’s trial of 22 anarchists on April 20th 2016

The Conspiracy of Cells of Fire case – the judicial, legal and repressive moves of the State in regard to this anarchist organisation – spreads over a period of 7 years and is still underway.

As of April 20th 2016, after 7 years (since the first arrests in 2009), 22 anarchist comrades stand trial in the second instance in Koridallos prison, Athens. In the CCF appeal’s trial, other cases will be tried as well – dubbed “CCF cases” by the police-judicial complex, to give gigantic proportions to their judicial coup against anarchists.

The appeal’s trial that starts April 20th concerns the following:
i) the Halandri case (three trials in the first instance);
ii) the sending of parcel bombs in November 2010;
iii) the arrests in Nea Smyrni, Athens in December 2010;
iv) the capture of five CCF members in Volos in March 2011;
v) the shootout with police in Pefki, Athens in May 2011; and
vi) the arrests for the double robbery in Velventos, Kozani in February 2013.

In yet another judicial innovation, not only comrades that were tried in first instance as alleged members of the organisation and the CCF members themselves will undergo the same appeal’s trial, but also the six accused in the Velventos robbery case: Nikos Romanos, Yannis Michailidis, Dimitris Politis, Andreas-Dimitris Bourzoukos (who’ve claimed responsibility for the double robbery), Argyris Ntalios and Fivos Charisis (who’ve denied their involvement). In the first instance, these six comrades were fully acquitted of alleged involvement in the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire, so their case doesn’t even fall within the infamous 187A “antiterrorist” law.

But the significance of this police-judicial innovation is not just a simple merging of seemingly and practically unrelated cases. If we take a look at the accusatory dossiers, we can easily understand what’s going on and, most of all, why this is happening.

To defend comrades who’ve been captured for their acts and discourse – as the comrades who’ve claimed responsibility for the Conspiracy of Cells of Fire – or comrades who’ve been targeted by the State’s repressive operations, is a precondition for continuing and promoting a battle currently underway. In this battle against Power, joint action with comrades who’ve been imprisoned, persecuted or vilified doesn’t only aim at the liberation of hostages and the release of captive comrades from prison. It is, furthermore, a logic of “not leaving anyone behind”, thereby strengthening the integrity of the struggle. So that we fighters bring the prisoners back in our ranks; so that we nourish and intensify the war against the establishment.

A solidarity-based combative stance next to comrades who are incarcerated or prosecuted is yet another field of conflict with the State and its mechanisms.

Solidarity Assembly for political prisoners & imprisoned and prosecuted fighters
(Athens, Greece)