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Update on Austrian activists in prison

antirep2008 | 28.05.2008 20:03 | Animal Liberation | Repression | World

In the meantime all 10 animal rights activists have been remanded to pre-trial detention without the possibility of bail. Nine of them are in the jail in Wiener Neustadt (right next to the courthouse Wiener Neustadt). One person is still in jail in Innsbruck – rumors about a possible transfer to Wiener Neustadt have not been verifiable up to this point. The next evaluation of the detention will probably take place in two weeks; at this time the only thing that will be decided on is whether the current detention will continue or whether the prisoners will be released.

The legal support has deliberately decided not to release any names or affiliations of the imprisoned persons until it has been cleared with them. We ask you to do the same out of respect for the prisoner’s right to privacy.

Lawyers are expensive – organize benefit parties and donate money to:
Account #: 01920013682
Bank Code (BLZ): 14 000
Account owner: Grünalternative Jugend Wien
Purpose: Antirep 2008
IBAN: AT551400001920013682

There have already been demonstrations in solidarity: Vienna, Wiener Neustadt, Graz, Bregenz, Hamburg, Berlin, Stockholm and Munich. We have also been informed that solidarity demonstrations are planned in Romania and Italy.

Out of experience it takes a long time for letters to reach people sitting in detention jails – nevertheless it is important to write to the prisoners and show them our solidarity. It is important to think about the fact that the letters will be read by the prosecutors. Therefore do not write anything that could incriminate those in jail or have a negative influence on their proceedings. Search in the internet for tips on writing to prisoners.

Send letters to: Send letters to:
Name + Date of Birth
Justizanstalt Wiener Neustadt
Maximiliangasse 3
A-2700 Wiener Neustadt

We demand the immediate release of the prisoners!
Only a few are directly targeted, but we are all intended targets!
Together we are strong!

Information Hotline for those directly affected, friends and family: +43 650 5926791
Press hotline: +43 681 10643623

- Homepage:


Background knowledge to Section 278a StGB & legal assistance

28.05.2008 20:22

Being there is everything - background knowledge to Section 278a StGB
All information on the legal assistance, 28/05/2008

As on 21 May 2008 23 apartments, offices and homes of animal rights activists in Vienna, Lower Austria, Styria, Salzburg and Tyrol by special units of police and searched much, and simultaneously arrest warrants against 10 of which were concerned, was quickly out what as a justification for this massive Repression against leftist activists much reflection. The detainee is the formation of a criminal organisation in accordance with Section 278a StGB accused.

This section was originally 1993, together with the Penal Code Section 165 against money laundering in order to handle the fight against organised crime already membership in a criminal organisation a criminal offence, without which this criminal organization or its members, concrete actions have been committed. The offence is a so-called "preparatory offence", which means that the offence of criminal organization in advance of future criminal conduct activities covered landscape, which alone would be seen with impunity. Several conditions must be simultaneously available to the offence of criminal organization; now follow later in remarks to the various constituent elements.

The criminal organization must be created in the longer term, which means an indefinite time or at least several weeks. The law speaks specifically about 3 months. In addition, the merger "unternehmensähnlich" structure, which collectively can be explained by the existence of division of labor (eg planning and execution), hierarchical structure (or referral powers-gebundenheit), and a certain existing infrastructure (such as organizational assets). A larger number of persons is another characteristic of a criminal organisation - here, the rulings a target of ten people developed - what a coincidence that now exactly 10 randomly zusammengewürfelte animal rights activists sitting in custody. A criminal organization is required of course, an objective - the criminal opportunities this can be found in paragraphs 1 to 3. One alternative from each point must exist together so that the event is met. The legislation had in introducing the offence of criminal organization clear which areas of organised crime in order to be penalised, so in the paragraph to paragraph 1 of the Penal Code Section 278a such as drug trafficking, arms trafficking or Schlepperei explicitly mentioned.
Protected legal assets are, in any body, life, health or property - the criminal organisation has set itself the target of repeated and planned have serious criminal acts against this legal product to celebrate.

The Paragraph 2 deals with the quest of the criminal organization after massive financial benefits (> € 50,000) or a major influence on politics or business - this target has a significant influence, which means that fundamental decisions politically or economically responsible to be heavily influenced .The influence of individual companies is not enough - the desired effect refers to economic or policy as a whole.

The shield against law enforcement measures or, alternatively, bribery and intimidation of others are the Strafbestandsmerkmale the number 3. What exactly is meant by shielding against law enforcement measures to understand, has been teaching and jurisprudence. There must be any means necessary to protect the criminal organization from prosecution against the authorities, and implementing any of the usual precaution measures in implementing projects beyond criminal, such as the creation of shell companies to camouflage purposes, the frequent exchange of value card phones, use of codes in internal communications, konspirativen renting apartments or other strategies, the prosecution more difficult or impossible.
But there are differing schools of thought in the frequent exchange of value card phones and the use of code words does not shield in a particular manner

These mentioned characteristics of a criminal organisation in accordance with Section 278a StGB will be satisfied if such an organization is established or if the person has such a member. The offence is required as a further element of intent with respect to all organizational characteristics.

All this does not sound new, but well known. All those who deal with the German Penal Code Section 129a - the formation of a terrorist group - have dealt know the allegations constructed in the context of the criminalization left structures - regardless of animal rights, anti-G8 actions or mobilizations, apparently the sole purpose offences of using the terrorist group the State insight into leftist groups or work. Ganz allgemein führen in Deutschland nur 1% (!!!) der eingeleiteten Strafverfahren wegen der Bildung einer terroristischen Vereinigung zu tatsächlichen Verurteilungen. In general, in Germany only 1% (!!!) of the ongoing criminal proceedings for the formation of a terrorist group to actual convictions.

The Austrian criminal knows next to the Section 278a even the formation of a criminal association under the Criminal Code Section 278, which - apart from the lower penalties (three instead of five years' imprisonment) only by the less, if not strong organizational level, and the lower number of persons (from 3 can be one part of a criminal organisation) of the criminal organization is different.
The attempt by the authorities politically active people as a criminal organization to evaluate, initiate investigations against them, broad surveillance measures and in detention due to take haltloser and completely unfounded fantasies of the constitutional protection and / or a prosecutor, in the history of the Austrian judiciary and the Left an absolute novelty. Never before in Austria came to such a large-scale wave of repression against leftist activists, in the arrest of 10 and the house searches of 23 apartments culminated last Wednesday.This must also be considered as an attempt left resistive practices to intimidate and in light of the public media to discredit or to criminalise.

By reading the arrangement of arrests and searches to find the exact text of the law again, has been reproached the offences were - dare circumscribed, apparently without reasonable grounds for suspicion, without any precise allegations - just inserted. In addition, evidence of massive telephone and computer monitoring to find - how far the extent this go is not to assess. The changes in the security police law with 01 01 2008 was the executive for the telephone surveillance - via Rufdatenerfassung without judicial approval and the purchase of so-called IMSI-Catchern also easy access for call capture - the door for a wide monitoring of any persons x-opened. It must be assumed that these possibilities for extensive monitoring via telephone also generously used enough but a fax the police to the provider.

As already mentioned, the formation of a criminal organization a preparatory offense, which means it can already the establishment or membership in such an organization without their members already had concrete crimes perpetrated.
The preparation and creation of a criminal organization - because the State to prove that indeed exists, succeeds - is already a criminal offence. Why the prosecutor's office for years identified and remains idle, is one of the major issues that are currently all. Obviously, neither alleged evidence or evidence available against those concerned, so now so drastic means plucked.

We demand the immediate release of all stakeholders, the cessation of all criminal proceedings relating to the organization or any other and the deletion of all the collected data!

Political commitment is not a crime!
Your repression gets us not not small - we are all Section 278a!

Media Info Phone: 0681/10643623

Account: 01920013682, bank 14 000, account holder is the green alternative youth Vienna, purpose: Antirep 2008
IBAN: AT551400001920013682

- Homepage:

ELP Information Bulletin (28th May 2008)

28.05.2008 21:46

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

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
- Homepage:

Information Update from the Legal Support Team (May 28, 2008)

29.05.2008 22:08

Ten animal rights activists having been sitting in pre-trial detention jail for over a week. Their detention is grounded on the charge of “Forming a Criminal Organization,” under §278a StGB (penal code). The next date on which further internment in the detention jail will be decided upon will take place either on Friday, June 6 or on Monday, June 9. Until then there is little to no hope that the prisoners will be released.

Today a few of the prisoners were moved from the detention center in Wiener Neustadt to Vienna (Justizanstalt Josefstadt) and Eisenstadt respectively, without any reason and without notifying the attorneys. We can only speculate as to the reasons – the prosecutors ramble on about the danger of destruction of evidence – but we believe the intention is the scattering and splitting up of the protests and demonstrations in front of the jail in Wiener Neustadt.

We refuse to allow ourselves to be intimidated by this new attempt at repression, and we will not stop letting the imprisoned animal rights activists know that we will not abandon them and will continue to support them.

We will continue to travel to the jails – solidarity is more than just a word!

Because some of the prisoners were moved, the addresses for writing letters have also changed. Because we cannot assume that the prisoners will stay in any one certain place, we ask you to send your letters to the prisoners in an envelope (first name is sufficient and if you do not know the people, then you do not need to address it to anyone), and then to send this in a further envelope to Antirep 2008, Postfach 101, A-1070 Wien, Austria (EU) and we will forward the mail on to the prisoners.

Some of those imprisoned do not want their names published, we accept this and ask you to take consideration of this fact as well.

Thank you for your understanding!

Some activists are now as before on hunger strike, others have obtained vegan food in the meantime.

Background to § 278a StGB can be found on the solidarity site:
Press Telephone: +43 681/10643623

Send donations to:
Account #: 01920013682
Bank direction number: 14 000
Account holder: Grünalternative Jugend Wien
Purpose: Antirep 2008
IBAN: AT551400001920013682

mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

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