AUBONNE BRIDGE CAMPAIGN
Highlighting repression and fighting police impunity.
News - the police are being charged
Court accepts activists appeal.
Police in court after nearly killing two activists during the 2003 G8 protests in Evian
On the 13th, 14th, 15th of February 2006 a court case against two Swiss police officers will take place in Nyon, Switzerland. They are charged with causing bodily harm through negligence. The activists had tried to have them charged with endangering life, severe bodily harm and non-assistance in distress. The lawyer for the activists has now submitted an official request to increase the charges to endangering life.
During the G8-protests in 2003, Michael Deiss cut the climbing rope of two activists who were blocking the Aubonne Bridge, nearly causing both their deaths and seriously injuring one of them. is senior officer, Claude Poget, had created the chaotic conditions at the scene that made this act possible. The injured climber was in hospital in Switzerland for a month and sustained irreversible injuries. Many solidarity actions and campaigning took place after the incident in June 2003 and again around the court case AGAINST the activists in May 2004. The case gained a lot of national and international media attention.
At the trial in 2004 the activists were found guilty of blocking the road and endangering the lives of the drivers. Shortly afterwards the investigating judge decided to effectively drop the case against the police. Only after an appeal and a great deal of public pressure did the high court overturn his decision and allow for the case to go ahead.
The court case against the police will be decided by the same judge who gave the activists suspended prison sentences, Jaques Antenen. If the charges against the police are proven, there will only be minor penalties, like fines or short sentences on probation. Given the history of police impunity in Switzerland, it seems unlikely that they will be found guilty. The Aubonne Bridge campaign from the very beginning has demanded the suspension of the two police officers involved, an independent investigation into the repression that took place during the G8 and compensation for those who were seriously injured. Until now the Canton de Vaud has refused to pay compensation, but this will now be dependent on the outcome of the court case.
During the court case in February, several witnesses and activists from the bridge and several police officers will testify.
Download Press release
Justice for Aubonne - The fight continues!
Action au Chateau: Martin Shaw and Gesine Wenzel demand disciplinary action and compensation. Their appeal against the judge's whitewash of the police declares the police intervention on the Aubonne bridge as illegal and requests further investigation.
With a banner saying
"Your cops are your responsibility!", today the climbers of the Aubonnebridge
Action entered the Chateau in Lausanne, seat of the government of Vaud. The
two activists, who nearly had been killed by the police cutting their climbing
rope during the G8 last year, together with supporters and the press, asked
the Conseil d'Etat to accept responsibility for the actions of their police
A 23 pages appeal
against the decision of the exmining magistrate to whitewash the police has
been handed in to the Tribunal of the Canton of Vaud. The tribunal has been
asked to charge Poget and Deiss for endangering life and severe body harm on
Martin Shaw and simple body harm on Gesine Wenzel plus charging Poget for false
testimony. The latter had made several false statements that are in clear contradiction
to the video evidence.
of the instruction judge had been criticised for being biased.
www.aubonnebridge.net (with 8 min
video of the action)
on AUBONNE CASE
Swiss judge ruled - No charges against the police after nearly fatal attack.
The police officer who almost killed the two climbers of the Aubonne Bridge Blockade against the G8 won't even face a trial. The judge's declaration lacks factual evidence, logical reasoning and impartiality.
The magistrate investigating the Aubonne case, Mr. Jacques Antenen, has declared that the police will not be held responsible. A policeman had cut the rope from which two climbers were suspended, whilst blockading a delegation on their way to the G8 summit in Evian May last year.
The investigation in the Canton of Vaud has lasted for 18 months and the final conclusion, released on the 22 of October, declares that the incident was fault of the activists themselves, because they have put themselves in a dangerous situation. The magistrate said that any mistakes the police made were understandable given the exceptional security situation during the G8 meeting and were outweighed by the temerity of the activists. The activists have appealed this decision to the higher court.
It appears clear that the investigation was conducted in a biased manner, rather than trying to find the truth, it contrived arguments to justify the police’s actions and to secure their impunity. The judge’s final declaration appears to have been written backwards, from the conclusion to the justification, and lacks logical reasoning, factual evidence and impartiality.
The activist’s lawyer has stated that this decision gives a carte blanche to the police to do whatever they want without fear any legal consequences. The activists said they were not surprised by the decision given the history of police impunity in Switzerland and the general rise of repression of political dissent. They wonder however: "How can we be found guilty for having endangered the lives of the car drivers and the police who nearly killed us are let off without even a trail? How can people still believe they live in a democratic, neutral country when double standards are so obviously applied?"
Until now the Swiss state has not accepted any responsibility for this incident, either in form of an apology, or any form of medical care or compensation. No internal investigation in to how this could have happened has been carried out, and none of the responsible policemen have been suspended from duty.
Both climbers will be affected by the policemen’s action on the bridge for the rest of their lives. Martin Shaw will be crippled and will be unable to continue his trade, as an electrician. Gesine Wenzel suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and had to have many months of therapy. Other members of the Aubonne Action group also suffered from psychological disorders as a result of the incident.
The climbers and another activist of the Aubonne group were summoned to court in June of this year, to stand charges for endangering the lives of the car drivers on the bridge during the action. They were found guilty despite having taken significant security measures, and two of them received suspended prison sentences. Their appeal was rejected.
The Aubonne Support Group maintains its demands:
00 41 078
683 6405 whilst we are in Switzerland
M. Shaw appeal (.pdf - French)
the Judgement (.pdf - French)