Controversial terror trial of Belgrade anarchists begins

Controversial terror trial of Belgrade anarchists begins

Six Serbian union activists are due in court today charged with international terrorism in what Belgrade academics have condemned as a political trial.

Tadej Kurepa, Ivan Vulović, Sanja Dojkić, Ratibor Trivunac, Ivan Savic and Nikola Mitrovic, were detained on 4 September after a Molotov cocktail broke a window at the Greek Embassy in Belgrade.

Originally arrested for "causing general public danger," an allegation often associated with low-level vandalism, the activists' charges were upped to international terrorism following public comments by Serbian President Boris Tadic that he intended to crack down on "left-wing terrorism."

The six face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the latest charges - more than double the sentence handed down for the burning to the ground of the US Embassy in 2008 in which one man was killed.

Academics at Belgrade University have condemned the trial, writing in an open letter: "We fear that this was an arbitrary interpretation of the Criminal Code and a case of its use for political purposes.

"Just in the year 2009 we have witnessed the escalation of violence and numerous threats of violence made by fascist groups. All of this was met with a mild reaction from the state prosecution and the police.

"To name just one example: in the days leading up to the Belgrade Gay Pride Parade (set for 20 September and called off due to security fears) threats of physically liquidating the gay population were called just 'polemics' by a representative of the state."

All of the six detainees are activists in or associates of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative (ASI), the Serbian section of the International Workers' Association (IWA). The ASI is part of a growing, independent union movement in Serbia and supporters say this is a political trial aimed at derailing that growth.

The attack itself has been claimed by a group called Crni Ilja, who said it was in solidarity with a Greek anarchist on hunger strike. No members of that group have as yet been positively identified.

The Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative has declared that they knew nothing of the attack or the group that carried it out. Ratibor Trivunac has repeatedly stated that throwing Molotov cocktails is not a method of struggle used by the group.

A spokesperson for the Solidarity Federation, British section of the International Workers Association, said: "We unreservedly condemn the trial as a political attempt by the rulers of Serbia to silence an effective radical movement. Members of SF and other IWA sections are going to Belgrade for the trial to show support for our imprisoned comrades."

Comments

Joseph Kay
Feb 17 2010 16:10

"trade union activists" confused

Rob Ray
Feb 17 2010 16:34

It's adapted from a press release we sent out to various liberal media groups, so the language was tweaked just a little to emphasise something they'd understand a little more. Change it if you like.

Joseph Kay
Feb 17 2010 16:36

ok will do, yeah figured as much.

syndicalist
Feb 17 2010 17:41
Martin O Neill
Feb 17 2010 19:08

Message via AF - they have been released on bail.

playinghob
Feb 17 2010 20:03

Until trial date 23/3/10 . Good news

MT
Feb 17 2010 20:17

25/3/2009 according to FAU

akai
Feb 17 2010 20:38

The charges were not dropped but they were released from detention. The trial will continue on March 23. There are rumours (from the court) that the charges will be changed.

It came out during the trial that Ivan Savic was seriously tortured and forced to sign a confession about an assasination plot.

We should wait for ASI comrades to write their opinions and description.

During the trial, where most people were not permitted in the courtroom, three people were arrested for putting up a sign reading "anarchy is not terrorism". Apparently the police want to charge them with some ridiculous obstruction of justice shit. Their situation is unclear now.

Iskra
Feb 17 2010 21:29

Actually two people are arrested, I think. I know one.

888
Feb 17 2010 21:15

Is there any action people in the US can take right now to support them?

syndicalist
Feb 17 2010 22:44
Quote:
> Date: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 00:34:32 +0200
> To: a-infos-en@ainfos.ca
> From: a-infos-en@ainfos.ca
> Subject: (en) Serbia, Trial of the Belgrade Six
>
>
> A couple of hundred people came to court today to attend the trial of the Belgrade 6.
> Despite the fact that a large room was supposed to be ordered, the court was apparently
> too afraid of the crowd and very few activists were let in. (The also were insisting that
> nobody could sit in the first row of the court and claiming the room was full.) This was a
> very tense situation and during this, 3 people were arrested for hanging a sign on the
> door reading "Anarchism is not Terrorism". ---- During the trial it came out that one of
> the six, Ivan Savic, was tortured and forced to sign a confession to yet another plot.
> The six were released for now and the next hearing is scheduled for March 23. There are
> rumours that the charges will be changed. ---- After the trial there was a discussion
> about the case with many people there. The surprise visitors to the panel discussion were
> Ratibor and Tadej who, as soon as they were released, showed up at the discussion. They
> were in a good mood; the others went home to get some rest after their ordeal.
Joseph Kay
Feb 18 2010 00:18

report from the acting IWA Secretary (SolFed) from Belgrade:

Quote:
I am writing from the trial of Belgrade 6 and I wanted to give a brief report to the sections on what was happening , more information will follow.

There was a tremendous turn out of supporters for the start of the Belgrade 6 case. There was also many supporters from outside Serbia, which included many supporters from the IWA sections. All the main Serbian TV channels were also present.

Little information come from inside the courts, so it was a long day for supporters waiting outside with all sorts of conflicting rumors circulating about what was happening inside. Our concerns were only increased when several anarchist from Croatia were arrested for unfolding a banner which read ANARCHISM IS NOT TERRORISM. They now face up to a month in prison

At 3.30pm loud clapping come from inside the court. A few minutes later supporters, who had been allowed in the court, emerged to announce that the Belgrade 6 were going to be released in effect on bail. There was plenty of confusion but it later confirmed that they were going to be released until March 23rd when they would still face terrorist charges.

But the fact that they had been released was a tremendous victory. Later in the evening the belgrade 6 were informed that the charges of terrorism would be dropped and replaced with a lessor charge. Needless to say the mood among the family and supporters was euphoric.

At the meeting after the release we were informed about some disturbing treatment the Belgrade 6 had received while they were in prison.

The fight is not over, the Belgrade 6 may still face serious charges when they return to court on the 23rd March. We must keep up the pressure on the Serbian state. But the fact that they have been released and the terrorist charges dropped is a massive victory, But the campaign must continue until all charges are dropped and the Serbian state is held accountable for actions.

Anarchia
Feb 18 2010 02:45
Quote:
Later in the evening the belgrade 6 were informed that the charges of terrorism would be dropped and replaced with a lessor charge.

That's great news smile Cheers for the updates everyone.

Mark.
Feb 18 2010 11:41
Steven.
Feb 18 2010 19:43

great news! But yes, this isn't over yet by a long shot

Jason Cortez
Feb 18 2010 22:58

F*cking excellent news!