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Open Letter from the Former AR Prisoners in Austria

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Open Letter from the Former Animal Right Prisoners in Austria

January 04 2009

Prison does not only mean "normalisation" on the societal level, but also isolation, arbitrariness, incapacitation, degradation, fear, boredom and complete powerlessness on the personal level. A situation which was a daily reality for each of us for 3.5 months. After months of intense surveillance we were held between three prisons for a quarter of a year along with other animal welfare and animal rights activists under the pretence of "Forming a criminal organisation" (�278a of the Austrian penal code.)


Dear political activists, dear people in solidarity,

In the mean time it�s been about two months since we, Kevin, Leo, Sabine, Jan and Christof of the Basisgruppe Tierrechte, could leave jail behind us and regained the long sought after freedom.

Prison does not only mean "normalisation" on the societal level, but also isolation, arbitrariness, incapacitation, degradation, fear, boredom and complete powerlessness on the personal level. A situation which was a daily reality for each of us for 3.5 months. After months of intense surveillance we were held between three prisons for a quarter of a year along with other animal welfare and animal rights activists under the pretence of "Forming a criminal organisation" (�278a of the Austrian penal code.)

In the meantime we have some distance from the most direct form of this repression. Nevertheless we remain in agreement about the significance of the solidarity which so many people showed us during our time in jail: besides the personal network which supported us indefatigably it was the wide-reaching solidarity of progressive people which allowed us never to lose our courage. Through the solidarity we felt a bit less isolated and had the strength to hold on and never doubted for a second that there is nothing more necessary than to fight for a world without violence, dominance, and oppression.

We want to thank all those who showed solidarity with us � in whichever form � from the bottom of our hearts, whether it was through letters, protests, donations, visits, press work, benefit parties, animal rights actions, etc�

But it is not all over yet: the investigations against us and an unknown number of other people continue and whether this all may result in a dismissal or charges and a trial is a matter which nobody can foresee. The fact is that unless the prosecuting attorney finally gives up, we are threatened with up to 5 years jail in the case of a conviction and in any case enormous costs for the trial. In order to try to work against this, we still need your support: please continue to organise benefit events in order to raise money for our legal bills and keep informed about the ongoing case. The criminalisation is aimed at animal welfare and animal rights activists and animal liberators at the moment, but the repression could take aim at any other "annoying" political movement that tries to work against the capitalist logic.

Therefore we are offering to help you in your contemplations and discussions about state repression, prison, etc by sharing our personal experiences, for example through lectures, personal talks� in whatever form or setting you would like. We are happy to share our experiences, no matter how traumatizing they were, with many people in order to strengthen active, progressive social movements. Get in touch!

For freedom,

Leo, Sabine, Jan, Kevin and Christof from the Basisgruppe Tierrechte (BAT)


Antirepression Support Website: http://antirep2008.lnxnt.org/

Homepage of the BAT: http://www.basisgruppe-tierrechte.org/

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