(November 18, 1994) Since 16 September two persons, well known amongst anti nuclear groups and sympathizing organizations in Geneva and Europe, have been imprisoned by order of the Swiss authorities. On request of ContrAtom we will not name them.
(422.4177) WISE Amsterdam - At the same time two other progressive activists have been arrested and are now detained in Berne. At first the four were indicted of being involved in an missile attack on the French fast breeder Superphénix on January 18th, 1982. The plant was Later the four were suspected of having had contacts with the terrorist group of Illich Ramirez Sanchez, known as 'Carlos'. 'Carlos' has been in a French prison since his arrest in Sudan this summer. His charges include (repeated) murder in the early '80s.
Rumors say that the accusations of the four arrested activists are based upon documents from the East German secret service, known as Stasi, via Hungarian secret services. The public ministry has probably got the information from the DST (Direction de la Surveillance du Territtoire) the Swiss counter espionage service.
But only after an article in the French weekly "Illustré" of August 30 and probably after pressure of the French and German authorities the four are imprisoned. Up till now they have never been told the exact reasons for their detention.
Commotion in Switzerland
A Swiss law dated from 1934 makes it possible that persons can be detained for indefinite time without official charges. This law is against the European Convention and the United Nation's Declaration of Human Rights. Only after 18 days the four were able to talk with their lawyers. This year Amnesty International published a report on Switzerland called: "Switzerland: Allegations of ill-treatment in police custody". Questions are raised m the Swiss public opinion about the procedure, about human rights, about the Justice Ministry continuously persisting in 'no comment', and about the possible manipulation of Swiss police and French secret services.
Actions against the detention are organized.
- a support group of friends of the two Geneva persons is formed. They sent an open letter to Miss. Carla Del Ponte, Public Prosecutor of the Swiss Confederation in which they demand the immediate release of the four.
ContrAtom, the Organisation one of the persons was founder of, published a declaration on 23 September. In this declaration ContrAtom explains that the group aims to mobilize a broad public awareness against the fast breeder Superphénix. They emphasize the serious, open way in which the detainee always worked. The methods ContrAtom uses to protest against the plant are different, from dialogue with the authorities to so called 'illegal" actions, as an occupation of the French Embassy. All the actions always have an open, pacifist and symbolic character and are openly claimed by more that ten persons. ContrAtom expresses their bewilderment on the fact that the accusations are based upon documents from the former East German Stasi.
They continue the declaration re-minding that Superphénix itself is a terrorist act; they refer to the death of a person at a manifestation against Superphénix in 1977, and mention the French secret service doing terrorist actions against the Rainbow warrior.
- Other groups have protested against the procedure in these cases: The Swiss Human Rights League and Progressive Jurists Against the Violation of Human Rights.
- There were several demonstrations in Geneva (one with thousand participants!) and Lausanne.
- On November 3 French activists occupied the French Consulate in Lyon, offering oranges to the Ambassador for their friends.
- Occupation of the cathedral Saint Pierre in Geneva.
In a declaration of 'Europeans against Superphénix' they protest against the detention of their spokesman and the inhuman and undemocratic procedure. With an indefinite time of interrogation without the presence of lawyers and without giving permission neither to the prisoners nor to their lawyers to read the dossier, human rights are violated.
Manipulations of interested services in order to discredit actions against Superphénix cannot be excluded.
Support letters can be send to ContrAtom; protest letters to your local Swiss consulate or embassy.
Case Postale 65
1211 Geneva, Switzerland.
Fax: + 41-22-320.45.67
Les Europeens contre Superphénix 4 rue Bodin f-69001 Lyon. France
fax: + 33-720.770 04
The Amnesty report on Switzerland can be obtained by:
International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street, London WC1X 8 DJ, UK.