• Germany's news in English

Detentions had 'chilling effect' on G8 protests

The Local · 2 Dec 2011, 07:05

Published: 02 Dec 2011 07:05 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The judges ruled that Germany had violated the rights to liberty and free assembly of the two activists, who were aged 22 at the time.

The two, identified as Sven Schwabe and M.G., were arrested in the northeastern city of Rostock on June 3, 2007, three days before the start of the summit of the world's most industrialized nations, and held until the day after the meeting closed.

They were among tens of thousands who had travelled to the region to demonstrate against the summit in the nearby Baltic Sea resort of Heiligendamm, where world leaders met behind a tight security cordon.

The two claimants were detained during a police identity check in a parking lot outside a prison, next to a van in which officers found banners, one of them proclaiming "Freedom for all prisoners".

The applicants have argued the slogan called on police to end the arrests of demonstrators, but a local court ordered their continued detention until June 9, suspecting they wanted to incite others to free the prisoners by force.

The protesters challenged the decision twice, to no avail.

The Strasbourg court found that the period of their detention – five and a half days – was "a considerable time" and said it was "not convinced" that their continuing detention could have reasonably been seen as necessary.

It also said that, if police had wanted to prevent them from inciting others to free the prisoners, it would have been sufficient to seize the banners.

The court found that the applicants, by planning to take part in the anti-G8 demonstrations, "had intended to participate in a debate on matters of public interest, namely the effects of globalisation on peoples lives."

"By displaying the slogans on their banners, they had aimed to criticize the security measures taken by the police, in particular the high number of detentions," the court said.

"Depriving them of their liberty for several days for trying to display the impugned banners had had a chilling effect on the expression of such an opinion and restricted public debate on that issue," the judges found.

Story continues below…

The court ruled that Germany had violated their rights to liberty and freedom of association and awarded each applicant €3,000 in damages plus costs and expenses.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

09:47 December 2, 2011 by twisted
Freedom and liberty are pretty cheap if they only got € 3000. The arrests were illegal and as a result, the state should be a lot more for depriving these fellows of their liberty and right to protest.
12:43 December 2, 2011 by rugbycoach
What price to put on liberty?...Personally I think these costs should always be awarded against the police involved in the arrest and the judges involved in the decisions to refute the appeals during the time they were held (note they did go through german due process) This will make these people in power think very hard before they deprive citizens of their freedom. Instead they hide behind the state and the state no doubt will pay the costs awarded....
19:24 December 2, 2011 by storymann
I was stunned when they did this. In a free society you do not detain people for what you think they will do, you detain them for what they have done.
Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd