Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > Austria
Supreme Court Still Suppressing Activists

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from http://www.vgt. at/index_ en.php

The Austrian supreme court delivered its verdict on the appeals of the remand prisoners against their remand hold. The verdict says that the remand prison was justified by the evidence. The supreme court says that there clearly is a big criminal organization active and that those, who were on remand, must be suspected to be part of it.

The supreme court explicitly stated:
- talking on a closed email list provides the infrastructure of the criminal organization
- encrypting emails and talking on anonymous phones shows criminal intent - that VGT had campaign coordinators in different provinces shows the hierarchical structure of the criminal organization
- to threaten a company even in a polite way with a legal campaign while in the past criminal actions have happened in other campaigns against other companies is already blackmail
- that a company stops selling fur after being approached by animal rights groups points to criminal activity because no company would do that without feeling criminally intimidated, i.e. terrorized

Some lawyers consider it impossible after this supreme court ruling that anyone being eventually charged with �278a will be found not guilty. The verdict supposedly is the final decision that there indeed is one single big criminal organization in Austria, which is responsible for each and every criminal action ever that could be considered animal related.

At the moment, 27 people face prison sentences of up to 5 years! And should they be found guilty, companies could sue them for damages and VGT could be dissolved.

In the meantime, another police raid has taken place in Austria, against a person solely having been on four demo marches in her life and supporting The Association Against Animal Factories (VGT) with donations and no other ar activism, was interrogated by police, intimidated and had her house searched and her computer and laptop confiscated.

DNA tests prove innocence of Austrian activists

No matches between DNA samples taken from animal protectionist prisoners and those found at crime scenes.

Following the arrests of the 10 animal protection campaigners in May of this year, police took DNA samples from each of them against their will, using violence in many cases � thus making it unlawful. The resulting samples were compared with DNA samples found at the scenes of apparently animal protection motivated crimes.

Neither prosecution nor police made the results of these tests public, but now, after receiving access to further prosecution files, the defense team is able to reveal the findings: No matches!

Neither the DNA from stamps used for letters claiming responsibility for criminal acts, nor punctured tires nor letters claiming responsibility for criminal acts, nor objects used to smash windows matched DNA from the 10 campaigners who where held on remand over the summer.

This makes it official: After nearly two years of intensive surveillance, 23 house raids and extensive DNA tests there is no evidence of any animal rights related unlawful acts for the 10.

Nobody was caught carrying out a crime

Nobody had planned a criminal act

Nobody had organized a criminal act

Nobody had items at home that could be linked with a crime

Nobody�s DNA matches with samples taken from crime scenes

In the light of the above, investigations would normally take a different direction, or be broken off altogether. Police as well as prosecution are obliged to present all exculpatory evidence, but instead of doing this, they continue to work on untenable suspicions. Sadly, nothing seems to be normal about this case. It is politically motivated and this makes the lack of evidence just a hindrance to the goal i.e. to damage and discredit the animal protection movement.

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