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Switzerland: Swiss Police face jail for Nearly Killing Two Activists in Evian 2003
01 February 2006
Statement from: Aubonne Bridge Solidarity Campaign
"In May 2003, an affinity group blockaded the Aubonne Bridge in order to stop a G8 delegation from reaching the summit in Evian. The police cut the climbing rope and nearly killed two activists. Now the policeman who cut the rope and his senior officer are in court. From the 13th to the 15th of February three judges will preside over the trial. More than 25 witnesses including senior police officers and activists who were on the bridge will give evidence during the trial in Nyon. The officers are charged with causing severe bodily harm with negligence. Martin Shaw fell some 25 metres and his injuries included a broken back, broken pelvis and a shattered foot.
Despite numerous operations, he will never make a complete recovery. The charges also include bodily harm against the second climber, Gesine Wenzel who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder for more than a year. This courtcase is the result of three-years of public and legal pressure after the initial judge appointed to investigate the case showed clear bias in refusing to pursue the matter. In Switzerland, the police usually enjoy a relatively high-degree of impunity and are protected by all manner of legal bureaucracy. Despite many complaints against the police having been made, this are the first such charges to be brought to court in over twenty years.
A programme of events is taking place for a week before and alongside the trial, including preparations for maintaining a presence outside the courthouse during the trial, a benefit party and workshops on subjects such as activist trauma, popular edication and planning for the next G8 in Germany.
The Aubonne-Bridge collective has released a political statement in which they acknowledge the contradiction inherent in pursuing a legal case through a justuce system whose legitimacy they don’t recognize, while outlining the reasons in which they have still chosen to do this. These reasons include challenging the impunity of the police, trying to highlight the cracks in the façade of liberal-democracy and to promote a greater awareness of the incompetence and violence that the police are capable of. The trial is taking place at the same time that 29 police officers in Italy are in court for a variety of acts of violence and brutality against protestors during the G8 summit in Genoa."
Aubonne Bridge Solidarity Campaign: http://www.aubonnebridge.net
Watch the video of the action: http://www.aubonnebridge.net/video.php
Statewatch News Online, July 2003: G8 injured activist released from hospital after one month - new video evidence demonstrates police negligence