After the pre-trial confinement was extended for all ten imprisoned animal rights activists in Wiener Neustadt on July 7, 2008, the Oberlandesgericht (OLG, the Appellate Court) upheld the confinement. This means that the imprisoned activists will remain in confinement for another two months until the next evaluation in September.
Monika Nowak, the spokeswoman for the legal support, reacted to the OLG-Decision, "The confirmation of the confinement for the animal rights activists is outrageous! The miscarriage is complete! This opens up the floodgates for the future criminalization of NGOs."
It is scandalous that house searches and arrests of ten animal rights activists were conducted on May 21, 2008 without any specific charges. They could only be surveilled and investigated by drawing on the smokescreen paragraph 278a - Membership in a Criminal Organization.
It is scandalos that the pre-trial confinement was justified with "Danger of Destruction of Evidence" because of e-mail encryption and with "Danger of Committing Crimes" because of the long-time political activism of the prisoners.
It is also scandalous that the prosecution has repeatedly offered to release some of the activists if they disclose the passwords for their computers.
It is likewise scandalous that it is being held against some of the prisoners that they have repeatedly applied their right to remain silent from the police and prosecution and insist that they will only make statements in the course of a fair trial.
All this suggests that the activists are being subjected to a sort of coercive detention to make them incriminate themselves - which is not a legal practice in Austria - because they have not been accused of specific criminal acts and also the disproportionately violent house searches apparently produced none of the hoped for evidence of any kind.
Monika Nowak, spokesperson of the legal support, sums up, "I demand the immediate release of the prisoners and a complete and independent elucidation of the polical motivations of this campaign aimed at criminalization from the police and justice departments."
Infomation from the legal support, July 16, 2008