Call for Justice after Gothenburg (Sweden) 2001
Please sign this by sending an e-mail with your name, city and country to firstname.lastname@example.org
It will then be published at www.manifest.se/upprop (but only in Swedish) and later presented to the Department of Justice in Sweden.
We the undersigned of this Call for Justice are deeply troubled by the judicial aftermath of the occurrences during the EU Top Meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden, in June of 2001.
We have concluded that:
Meanwhile, none of the over 100 complaints filed with reason of police violence have lead to charges being pressed. We know that only a quarter of all those who received medical treatment after the riots in Gothenburg were policemen. We ask ourselves if these numbers hold up proportionally to that which actually happened.
· The incarceration of many of the accused young people has been, in contradiction to the meaning of the law, excessively long (1-3 months).
Those incarcerated have, as a matter of routine, been held in isolation.
· The punishment for rioting has suddenly increased ten-fold or more. Currently, nearly 30 young demonstrators have been sentenced for rioting during the occurrences in Gothenburg. In the past, the punishment for this crime has ranged from community service or probation to a few months imprisonment. However, the average punishment for the occurrences in Gothenburg has been one year and nine months. For instance, four teenagers have been sentenced to between two and three years imprisonment. These harsher levels of punishment, when appealed, have been sustained by higher courts.
· In several cases, the accused have been sentenced collectively (up to eight individuals and up to four years imprisonment) 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.
· The prosecutors have used every opportunity to bind the accused to political activities and organisations -ranging from actual membership to supposed sympathies.
· Many witnesses that may have been able to speak in the defence of the accused, have chosen not to witness for fear of being themselves accused and treated in a similar degrading manner by the police and the judicial system.
· Film and photo materials taken by witnesses, and then confiscated by the police, have -according to the same police force- been lost and therefore can not be used as evidence. When defence lawyers have requested to use the police's own film materials from certain places and times during the riots, the police have notified them that such materials do not exist. At the same time, prosecutors have been able to use film materials from these exact places and times in other cases.
· During several trials, the prosecutors have been allowed to show a emotionally-charged film from the worst riot scenes of the happenings in Gothenburg, even when the accused in the case have not even been anywhere near the scenes portrayed onscreen.
· The prosecutors have in at least one trial, shown a film where the soundtrack was manipulated. Research of this film materials origin has shown that the manipulation occurred while the film was being processed by either the police or the prosecutor.
· Other accused individuals have, in separate circumstances, also claimed that evidence against them has been falsified.
· The prosecutor has categorised the police raid of the Schillerska school building, were card-playing and sleeping youths were dragged out onto the schoolyard, and the five hour long police containment of a peaceful protest manifestation at Järntorget, as a "violent riot". This categorisation leads to the fact that possible witnesses of, or lodgers of complaints of, these acts to risk being charged for participation in these "violent riots".
· During the EU Top Meeting in Gothenburg, no attempt was made to enter or stop the meeting with the use of violent methods. However, everything from the prosecutors charges to the documents containing court decisions, contain the assertion that the accused attempted to stop the democratic process by stopping the EU Top Meeting. This assertion lacks all factual basis.
· No firearms or explosives have been found in the possession of the accused or in the possession of the other 30,000 to 40,000 Swedish and foreign nationals manifesting their opinions in Gothenburg from the 14th to the 16th of June, 2001.
· The High Court has, to this date, not tried an appeal of any of the cases pertaining to the occurrences in Gothenburg.
We demand that:
· The prosecutors suspected manipulation of evidence be investigated with the utmost of priority.
· The High Court try the appeals of several of the cases pertaining to the occurrences in Gothenburg; with special attention given to the reasonability of the harshness of punishment.
· If evidence is found to have been tampered with and/or the High Courts find unreasonably high levels of punishment have been dealt out, that all the cases pertaining to the occurrences in Gothenburg be tried in appeals courts and in those cases where sentences have been ratified, that are held.
We additionally demand that:
· All complaints lodged against the police be investigated by a special, independent commission. If the constitution of such a commission requires the passing of new laws, then we recommend that they be so passed.
· All of the police's filmed materials be made available to the defence lawyers.
· The accused be tried and judged with a high degree of individualisation.
· The prosecution remove their categorisation of the occurrences at the Schillerska school and Järntorget on the 16th of June as a "violent riot".
· That the freedom of opinion of every citizen and organization is respected and that political opinions are not used against defendents in the courts of law.
· The trials pertaining to the occurrences in Gothenburg be moved to neutral courts and communities and organisations; which means, courts far removed geographically from Gothenburg.
We urge all citizens and organisations, with no regard to their political leanings, to support this call for the defence of justice.