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secret state security trials

are secret state security trials possible in germany as well?
Are secret state security trials possible in Germany as well?

In mid-November 2001 U$-President George W. Bush signed a bill
according to
which alleged terrorists can from now on be put on trial secretly and
world
wide to US military courts; they can be convicted and thus even
executed
this way. Furthermore, the Minister of Justice has been empowered,
similarly
to the German "Kontaktsperregesetz", to abandon all contact that the
prisoners may have to the outside world, including their lawyers, if it
is
required by public safety.

It seems publicly unknown that also and especially in Germany so-called
"Geheimprozesse", secret trials, i. e. trials without any public
information, are possible. This means the public is not informed about
either investigation, charges, the trial itself, nor the sentence.

The legal foundations are the §§ 172, 173, 174 of the
"Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz (GVG)", the law dealing with the rules for
trials. Being valid since 1888, § 172 of the GVG states that the court
can
decide to exclude the public, if this helps to avoid "endangerment of
state
security". The same applies, according to § 173, to the pronouncement
of the
sentence. Finally, § 174 claims that in such cases neither the press
nor
radio and TV are allowed to give any reports on the trial, or any
official
documents relating to the subject, to the public.

People violating these laws are subject to severe legal consequences.

We can only speculate on how many people have been sentenced and
imprisoned
under these circumstances in the past, for the above-mentioned § 174
prohibits all media coverage on the charges, the findings of the
judges,
appeal court decisions and other contents of files. Any document in the
files is by definition an "official document". Facing the current
political
situation in Germany, but also in Europe and the US, we can, we even
must
assume that the German administration of justice will in the - alleged
-
"war against terrorism" make expanded use of these secret trials. A
possible
hint on the European Human Rights Convention would be in vain, because
its
article 6 contains a similar regulation; besides, article 15 of the
Convention allows for the suspension of almost all regulations of the
Convention in case of a state of emergency.

This means that people who get involved in carrying out active
resistance
against this system should be aware that also in Germany secret trials
are
possible. Of course generally the administration of justice has an
interest
in acting as publicly as possible against our comrades in order to
scare us
off, but this does not alter the above-mentioned regulations.

Against criminalization of the amti-fascist and anti-imperialistic
struggle!
For freedom and justice!

Thomas Meyer-Falk, z..zT. JVA-Z.3117, Schönbornstraße
32,
D-76646 Bruchsal, Germany
 
 

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