The trial against animal rights activists continues. The famous and award-winning movie “Der Prozess” (The trial) shows how an NGO can be criminalized. All of the defendants were acquitted of the charges. But the seemingly insane prosecutor appeals against the decision and in the verdict of the Higher Regional Court two judges claim that announcing a legal and peaceful campaign in order to stop the trade with ethically questionable products (for example fur) is a dangerous threat and grave coercion. And if a campaign isn’t announced to the affected company, demonstrations can still be interpreted as implicit threat. Also legally everybody who is part of the realization of the coercion or threat (by organizing a campaign) is threatening and coercing, so if a lot of people sign a petition, write protest emails, speak with responsible persons or partizipate in peaceful and legal demonstrations they all would be criminals. Even strike can be interpreted as a threat and coercion considering this verdict.
Already the first part of the huge animal rights trial (as it is called) was a juridical shame and an embarrassment, millions of euros tax money were wasted and in Austria legally acquitted people aren’t compensated for the unjustified detention awaiting trial or the monstrous trial or legal fees.
Still since the prosecutor wants at least some of the people economically completely ruined and convicted of anything, the trial continues for 5 activists. As a result another charge actually is animal abuse because one of the defendants opened the door of a factory farm with the result that some of the pigs chose to leave it and some didn’t. So naturally some started to fight outside and were lightly injured. Animal abuse legally needs a malice which no animal rights activist has.
The charge of coercion and threat by announcing a legal campaign is dangerous for every NGO in Austria. Not only animal rights activists can be accused. Therefore we need network of various NGOs to join the solidarity. Over 1000 people have already signed a pre-formatted self-denunciation on www.vgt.at because they are also guilty of announcing a legal campaign to a company selling ethically questionable products. At least 4 people, including myself, have created an individual self-denunciation. I have also “threatened” companies of the arms industry to end the trade with arms because it’s a danger to global peace. That means I “coerced” them to bail out of the arms business and “threatened” to harm their sozial position in nearly the same wording as the concerned defendant did – very kind and harmless:
i am writing to you on behalf of all citizens who wish for a non-violent society and non-violent companies. The demand is simply the end of the arms business. Arms prevent peace in a society who evolved ethically and morally.
If you company isn’t willing to bail out of the arms business, we have to start a peaceful campaign against your company, by informing the public, organizing peaceful demonstrations and invoke a public protest.
The social rank of the arms industry is already questioned due to the ethical evolution of mankind. So it is only a question of time. There is no use for delaying the progression of peace and non-violence just because of profit.
For a peaceful future.
Respectfully but earnestly, Anna Hajaky Geisler