[ 11. Aug 2009 ]

The legal scandal around §278a enters the second round

Press release: A Large Part of the Accusations against Animal Rights Activists Have Been Dropped


Almost a year and a half after the wave of house searches and arrests there appears to be some movement in the disputed proceedings based on the allegation of allegedly Forming a Criminal Organisation. Several of the accused received notice that a part of the various charges against them had finally been dropped.

The investigators, under the supervision of the Wiener Neustadt prosecutors, have been trying since 2006 to arbitrarily ascribe all uncleared crimes related to animal welfare or animal rights from the past thirteen years to selected activists of various organisations and groups.

The partial dropping of the charges can be seen as an admittance of the absolute excessiveness of the proceedings and the untenable nature of the charges.

"Without these trumped up charges, this case never could have developed – no investigations into an ever-increasing circle of people, no spying and surveillance, no bugging operations, no pre-trial detention. This case should have never been allowed to exist." explained Alex Sommer from the initiative antirep2008.

Yet even though the prosecution has dropped many of the charges, the main charge, Forming a Criminal Organisation according to §278a, apparently will remain.

"Unfortunately it appears as though the prosecution in still not prepated to admit the full extent of this misscarriage of justice. The announcement of a court date for the §278a proceedings is to be expected within the next days. It remains to be hoped that the remaining allegations, especially the absurd construction of a "criminal organisation," will fall apart in court, much like the charges which have already been dropped.

"Anti-mafia" paragraphs, such as §278a, enable enable the criminalisation of political movements.through the legitimisation of extensive surveillance methods despite only having the vaguest suspicions. Thus in this case it must be assumed there will be charges of "Forming a Criminal Organisation" even though the prosuctions itself admits that there no longer remains suspicion of culpability for many of the original allegations.

Our demands remain:

  • an end to all §§278ff proceedings and all proceedings against the animal welfare and animal rights movement!
  • the disclosure of all the investigation methods and unrestricted access to all the files for those targeted by the investigations!
  • the deletion of §§278ff without replacement!

For further information, as well as contact to those targeted:
antirep2008 (at)