Danish court delivers a victory for liberation fighters the world over
By Ron Ridenour, Dec 13, 2007, 12:44
A great victory, an unexpected one for several of the affected, was delivered today by Copenhagen’s City Court for those who fight for their liberation and sovereignty and for those who act in solidarity.
One juridical judge and two lay judges found the seven accused Danish solidarity activists, “Fighter and Lovers”, innocent of the Justice Ministry’s charge that they had materially supported “terror groups” FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine).
Since FARC and PFLP are not terrorist organizations, concluded the judges, neither are the seven activists guilty of any crime.
The seven had produced and sold t-shirts with FARC and PFLP emblems in an effort to raise a debate about Denmark’s terror law, which is shaped after USA’s Patriotic Act and EU’s terror list on which FARC and PFLP are placed as terror groups.
The court’s decision is a worldwide precedent. No other court, outside those in Colombia and Israel, have legally judged the contested groups for terror crimes. This will have significance in the international world of politics and justice, and is a setback for the imperial coalition’s “war on terror” with civil liberty restrictions as one consequence.
The court found for the defense in its argument that while both armed movements fighting oppressive governments over four decades had committed specific atrocities their goal is not a terrorist one, rather their goal is to combat government and paramilitary forces, and create a different political course, albeit not with the intent to do damage to constitutional foundations.
FARC and PFLP, said the court, were not engaged in “terrorizing the population,” as is required in Danish law, paragraph 114, to be classified as terrorist, nor was their intent to “destabilize or destroy the land’s basic, political, constitutional, economic or societal structures”.
One of the lay judges was in disagreement regarding terror actions purported by FARC. The total vote was 4-0 against the states attorney’s terror charge against PFLP and 3-1 for FARC.
It is unknown if the state will appeal the decision. The case for them is thin, as the 50-page court decision clearly shows. No hard evidence of terror was presented. The court’s report states that only one of the state’s witnesses had any direct knowledge of the charges. Israeli researcher, Reuven Paz, testified against PFLP as a purported terrorist organization. His credibility, though, was not well taken as he had worked for Israeli intelligence services for 27 years.
Another state’s witness, Angel Rabasa, a former Cuban, testified as a witness from Rand Corporation, a California based weapons industry and US military think-tank.
His credibility was discredited when it was revealed that he had worked for the US military in contrast to his denial of such. Furthermore, he had asserted that FARC had never operated in the legal political arena, yet he had written to the contrary in his book, “Colombia Labyrinth”, published in 2001 by RAND with support of the US military.
It was a surprising verdict, given the temper of the times: the constant fright signals for terror attacks daily disseminated by the mass media and the government. The Danish government is also fully committed to the war against Afghanistan and has 650 troops there with tanks and heavy artillery. Danish soldiers are regularly shot and killed.
The Danish government, with support from the Social Democratic “opposition”, also continues its “commitment to the Iraq project”, albeit with fewer and fewer military forces.
Yet another reason why the decision was surprising, and an uplift for political activism, is that the court could have taken an easy way out of the dilemma on who is or is not terrorist. The state’s case against the seven had to be based upon material support. Therefore, the collection of proceeds from the t-shirt sales, which was to go to a radio station for FARC and a poster printing press for PFLP, was decisive.
A technical problem for the state’s case was that the $4-5000 collected, slated to be sent to the two groups, was confiscated by the Danish secret police (PET) before any could be sent. PET also confiscated some t-shirts and “Fighters and Lovers” computer and homepage.
The court could have easily found the seven innocent for not having broken the law concretely. Instead, it decided to take the political case head on: are FARC and PFLP terrorists. Their decision is a clear NO.
The city court’s decision will also have positive consequences for three other Danish organizations, which have also donated material support to FARC and or PFLP.
The first group to do so, Rebellion (Oprør), had actually sent several thousands of dollars to both FARC and PFLP to do with as they chose. One of Rebellion’s spokespersons, Patrick Mac Manus, was charged with violating the same law, paragraph 114. That case has been postponed due to his illness.
A key figure in Rebellion said that with this court’s decision there is no ground to continue a case against MacManus.
A veterans group from World War 11 (Horserød-Stutthof Foreningen) also sent some money to FARC to challenge the state, which refused to prosecute those old heroes. In an act of solidarity with “Fighters and Lovers”, a Copenhagen union of carpenters and constructions workers (TIB) recently did the same.
In the festive aftermath, complete with Colombian music, one of the involved mused that this decision should be taken up by solidarity activists around the world as a tool to go on the offensive against the repressive terror laws. Use the verdict, he said, to demand that the terror lists be thrown in the waste basket, and increase solidarity with the just struggles for liberation the world over.