Frankfurt, Germany: Reportback from the ‘Revolutionary Cells’ trial against Christian Gauger and Sonja Suder

See previous summary here.

No more torture minutes and principle-witness lies! Freedom now for Sonja!

We continue our coverage on the trial against our comrades Sonja and Christian in Frankfurt, who are both holding strong, despite being dragged to court already since the 21st of September 2012. The State as usual reveals its vindictive face against fighters for social liberation who do not obey the rules of Capital and Power, but we have to point out that this trial is really nothing but a farce. Looking back on a series of inconsistencies and judicial failures, the trial entered a new phase with the examination of a principal (yet completely unreliable) government witness, namely Hans-Joachim Klein, former member of the Revolutionary Cells (Revolutionäre Zellen, RZ), who was also involved in the 1975 militant action against the OPEC headquarters in Vienna.

In November 2012, the court provoked heavy protest from the side of the audience when the bench read out the minutes of the traumatized fighter Hermann Feiling, who was interrogated by cops in 1978 after an explosive device was detonated in his lap, resulting in the loss of his feet and eyeballs. Feiling, who was under the influence of drugs and still in pain while he also suffered epileptic seizures, was interrogated by cops in the hospital for four months on almost a daily basis and in complete isolation. Feiling, who was forced to admit the names of Sonja Suder and Christian Gauger, rejected all of the forged testimonies he gave afterwards. In other related trials, these testimonies that were given under torture were declined as ‘evidence’. However, the presiding judge Bärbel Stock treats the exact same statements as main evidence in the current trial.

Reviving the acceptance of torture as a means of evidence in German courthouses was responded by loud protests from solidarians in the audience. Thus, the reading of the minutes was suspended and a banner was unfolded inside the courtroom, reading: ‘Frankfurt regional court – Accomplice in torture.’ Soon thereafter, the solidarian comrades left the room unified. The judge commented with the words: ‘The more leave, the better.’ The defense lawyers challenged the bench with another motion for rejection of the present judges on grounds of bias, which was once again rejected later on.

During the course of the trial several counter-information events took place across Germany: in Rostock (19/11), Greifswald (20/11), Neubrandenburg (21/11), Karlsruhe (24/11) and Bochum (30/11), just to mention few of them. There were also several actions on the street, such as a banner drop in Hamburg on the 10th of November during a demonstration for the once squatted Hafenstraße, a feminist gathering at the women’s prisons in Frankfurt on the 24th of November, and the New Year’s Eve solidarity rally in front of Preungesheim prison, where Sonja is incarcerated.

Furthermore, on the 14th of December 2012, a solidarity bus was scheduled to leave from Berlin with comrades who joined that day’s trial session in Frankfurt. At the beginning of this session, the audience denied standing up when the judges entered the room, and the presiding judge threatened everyone with a fine of 100 euros. From then on, it became a common practice of the scum to order that no one can enter the courtroom without giving their IDs to authorities, and there are armed cops inside the courtroom besides two or three plainclothes cops and several judicial officers.

Sonja’s 80th birthday was celebrated with many wishes from the audience on the first day of trial in 2013, by singing a happy-birthday song. All these months, Sonja and Christian look confident as the solidarity from the comrades who attend the trial gives them strength to withstand all vexatious measures of the court.

Since the 18th of January 2013, the court is examining the presumed key witness Hans-Joachim Klein. Since tension was high from the very beginning of the trial, the judge threatened to exclude publicity during the whole examination of this witness. In the end, this prohibition from following the proceeding was imposed on five attendants, who had received restraining measures in earlier sessions.

Klein’s testimony was made with a mixture of abstruse and confused statements, where problems of understanding and remembering any specifics became apparent, along with the denunciation of his past activity and his treason. Klein himself participated in the attack against the OPEC summit in 1975, being affiliated to the international wing of the Revolutionary Cells at the time. He has also alleged that he carried out a lot of other action which, however, might only be made-up stories of a neurotic man, who has only been able of exposing himself over the years (for instance, at one point he had alleged plans to kidnap the Pope). Klein was arrested in France in 1998. About a year later, when he was extradited to Germany to stand trial, he snitched on Sonja accusing her of holding some secret weapons arsenal and being involved in the strike on the OPEC conference.

As ridiculous as some of Klein’s statements may sound, it is nevertheless obvious that the Frankfurt court is biased and protects its witness as far as possible. This also proves the arbitrary character of this trial and shows that the State wants to make an example at the expense of the lives of Christian and Sonja, in an attempt to rewrite the past of the German militant scene.

On the 1st of February, the defense lawyers requested the immediate release of Sonja from prison, since there is no reasonable ground for her incarceration after revealing the dubious character of the aforementioned principal witness.

The more this court delays the release of Sonja (from prison) and Christian (from restrictive conditions), the more the despair of the judicial mercenaries and the State itself is revealed. What’s more, during the trial session of the 8th of February, the restricted possibility to use Klein as reliable witness and any of his statements as reasonable was confirmed.

Sonja and Christian will not be left alone until both are acquitted on all charges! Solidarity is our weapon and this is the time to express our support wherever we are!

If you once agreed on: ‘If anything happens, not a word, no confession,’ then you have a very confident feeling. FREEDOM AND HAPPINESS FOR SONJA AND CHRISTIAN!

Our warmful thanks go to the Solikomitee Frankfurt. For more information and updates, follow the blog of comrades who monitor this trial (in German).