Repression of legal rights in Sweden - call for justice!
The aftermath of the riots in Gothenburg where three demonstrators were shot by the police, have turned in to a corrupt legal practice which may result in a transformation of the legal system in an unsatisfactory direction, where legal rights of the individual have no place. PLEASE READ!
Here is a résumé of the situation: (some are quoted from the earlier appeal for justice).
· The preliminary investigation of the shooting of a 19-year-old protestor was cancelled. The investigators could not find any suspicion of crime! No preliminary inquiries have been launched regarding the 12 pistol shots by the police into a fleeing crowd that injured two more people (not severely).
· Of 182 (-and counting!) reports to the police about "undue interference by the police" [mistreatment, beatings, unlawful arrest, etc.], only ONE has resulted in a preliminary inquiry, and only after the severe beating of a defenceless protestor by four policemen was shown on national TV!
·It has been proved on national TV that the police have manipulated a film used in a trial. The prelim. investigation was cancelled with the now standard explanation: "no suspicion of crime". (Proof of crime is not enough for suspicion of crime, as for as the investigators are concerned!)
·Responsibility for the illegal police interventions at the schools Hvitfeldtska and Schillerska (lodging totally almost a thousand demonstrators), where in the first case the school was closed in by freighter containers, stopping the demonstrators from using their freedom to protest in the large demonstration against Bush's visit the same day that gathered 16,000 people - and in the second case the school was stormed in the middle of the night by a special police force equipped with automatic rifles, the demonstrators beaten and harassed, arrested and then hours later released without explanation.
· The sentences for riots have suddenly increased ten-fold or more compared to the legal-usage regarding the same crime before June 2001. Average sentences for riots before June 2001 has been community service or probation to 2 months imprisonment. The average punishment for the riots in Gothenburg has been 1 year and 9 months. In many cases it has been judged more serious than rapes or ill-treatment or even assistance of murder, where the convicted have been soccer-hooligans or nazis.
·In several cases, the accused have been sentenced with identical charges and identical repercussions. All have been charged without their individual actions being documented or taken into account. This lack of individual accountability exemplifies the non-existence of justice.
· Over 50 people have been indicted or await indictment, and many are still suspects awaiting investigation. 350 people were freed from suspicion in December. The incarceration of many of the accused young people has been extremely long (1-3 months). Those incarcerated have been held in isolation cells; 8 youths have been held in isolation-cells for 100 days, forced to take heavy narcotics to withstand ("mental torture" according to Amnesty International.)
· The prosecutors have categorized many legal and peaceful gatherings that were stormed by the police as "riots", which mean that people can't testify of undue interference and mistreatment by the police without themselves risking a charge for "rioting" and several years in prison.
THE SCANDAL ABOVE ALL OTHERS
The most central process of the ongoing Gothenburg-trials is the one about the "command central". According to the myth created by our media this summer, the riots in Gothenburg were carefully prepared, planned, organized and commanded by a "command central", which directed the "vandals" in the streets. There is, however, a small problem with this conspiracy theory: the persons who allegedly commanded the riots were arrested the first day, and could thereby not have had anything to do with the riots on Friday, which were the most severe. This minor problem in the logics does not hinder that the reason for the ten-fold increase in length of the sentences, the reason mentioned frequently in many of the cases, is the careful preparations, planning and organizing and that they were directed by a "command central". So, what did this so-called "command central" exist of?
Eight teenagers in an apartment, equipped with ONE computer and a few cell-phones, and a little apparatus to monitor the police radio. C'est tout. It is fully legal to monitor the police radio, and they did not hide from anyone what they were doing. The apartment was full of people all day long, and there was a telephone list where you could register for cell-phone text messages (SMS) to know what was going on in the streets and where. The 8 youths and probably several others then sent them information about what was going on in the streets, by what they had heard on the police radio and also read on the newspapers website-coverage. Yet the court did not pay any attention to the other people in the apartment or even who did what - they were judged collectively. For what? The district court first ruled: "instigation of riot". The only substantial evidence consists of 5 SMS (cell-phone text messages) sent to around 50-60 people. The most specific and concrete of the messages reads as follows:
"People are preparing to defend themselves inside Hvitfeldtska. The police are too few. Everybody go there to help their comrades! Spread the word!"
For this, and other much more unclear messages, they were sentenced by the district court to between 3 and 4 years in prison! Since telling people to help their illegally locked-up friends is - obviously - a very criminal act, some 60 brave citizens who, having committed the very same criminal act, turned themselves in at the police station in an act of solidarity. "Should we all spend 4 years in prison?" was the question they asked. After appeals from the convicted, the court of appeal took on the case, and on February 8 the penalties were lowered to between 1 year and 4 months to 2 years and 4 months in prison, and the classification of the crime was changed (!) from "instigating of riot" to "assistance of riot"! The sentence reads:
"It is not clarified if those who received the messages had connection with each other or how they acted as a consequence of the messages".
The word "scandal" is not strong enough: in the sentence itself, they admit that THERE IS NO EVIDENCE FOR THE CRIME THEY ARE SENTENCED FOR. In other words, the court has put aside the very principle upon which the whole legal system rests: NOT GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE. In absence of evidence, the court instead refers to the political views of the accused and their alleged intentions, based on findings among texts in the computer and "political material " in the bookshell! As the Swedish writer Jan Guillou recently noted; not even under the dictatorship of the Swedish king Gustav III (1772-1792) was it possible to put aside that principle. Although that was mentioned in the context of three Swedish citizens having all their partitions confiscated and their sources of income cancelled because of their "complicity in terrorist funding", on order from the United State's UN-legitimised "terror-list", but that is a whole other story... (Must I mention the US refused to present any evidence of their crime?)
Political phoney-trials in Sweden - is it hard to believe? You'd better believe it!
THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN THE SWEDISH MEDIA AND THE SWEDISH POLICE AUTHORITIES
The fact that the Swedish media hasn't reported the truth about this should tell you all that's worth knowing about our media-situation. But there's more to know. Did you know that one rich and (by Swedish measures) extremely powerful family - the Bonniers - owns 30 percent of the whole media-market, and that 80% of our daily newspapers are officially right wing?
Media have played a big part in the ongoing scandal and bulldozing of legal rights and principals. By consequently excluding the controversial facts from their reporting and actually lying, the journalists have deceived the public and allowed these happenings, for which there are no equivalent in Sweden's history, to pass by almost unnoticed. The journalist either lie or ignore, and the intellectuals seem to be living on another planet. I think even Noam Chomsky would be surprised by the moral breakdown on part of the "intellectuals" in Sweden.
The myth about the "command central" is significant for motivating the outrageous sentences. It was created this summer by the media, after dubious information from the police, and with great effect rooted it in the public consciousness. The myth is used to justify the long sentences, and for that reason, the courts will hang on to it till the end, until it gets really absurd (Isn't the court of appeal's sentence evidence enough of this?). Because otherwise, there is nothing motivating them - and then the whole building will crumble down like a house of cards!
Our hope is that the Supreme Court will take on the case and re-examine the (non)evidence. If the 8 teenagers are acquitted, this will lead to more cases being re-examined by the Supreme Court. But this requires that the journalists start digging. So far they have only shown their apathy towards justice, their antipathy against demonstrators, and their dislike to kill a myth of their own making, no matter how absurd and false it is.
Let me finish by quoting Erik Wijk, the only journalist in Sweden who has examined the sentences:
"It is a social contract that is being dissolved. Equality before the law, forget it. A police working for the benefit of the public, really? A body of journalists and intellectuals as a counter-power, what a joke...
The photos from the [vandalism on the] Avenue have stuck on the retinas of the Swedish people - they think our vital struggle for justice and legal rights is some kind of defence of terrorists."
We fight a more and more desperate struggle. The Swedish people are blindfolded and either rejoice or slumber as democracy and legal rights sink like a battered ship before their eyes.
By Nils Wadström,
IMC Sweden: http://www.se.indymedia.org
PLEASE Sign the petition for justice in the Gothenburg-trials at http://www.manifest.se/upprop/english.html
and help the Swedes in their struggle.
International pressure will help!
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