Controversy courts Hamburg’s G20 hearing

EPA/CLEMENS BILAN

Firefighters extinguish the fire of a burning car during riots at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, 08 July 2017.

Controversy courts Hamburg’s G20 hearing


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Hamburg, which hosted the G20 summit in June, is back in the news again. This time it’s the G20-related trials against protesters detained during the high-level gathering.

The hearings are underway at Hambourg’s regional court.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, there are several foreigners being held in pretrial custody awaiting trial.

Peike S, a 21-year old from Amsterdam, has been charged with a litany of offenses ranging from seriously disturbing the peace to grievous bodily harm and resistance against police officers. Of the 32 people still in custody, two-thirds are foreign nationals, among them Russians, Italians, French and Spanish.

But it is the case of Stanislav B, a 24-year-old art student from Poland, that has caught the attention of most media. The student was stopped and checked by police outside Hamburg Dammtor train station.

In his backpack, police discovered a number of firecrackers and a canister that could be used as a teargas cylinder.

Carsten Rinio, chief prosecutor with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Hamburg, told DW that it is illegal in Germany to carry the objects in question. “There are certain objects that you are not allowed to carry with you without official authorization. Some objects fall within the scope of gun control and explosives laws,” he said.

Stanislav’s lawyer, Jonathan Burmeister, however, has a different view. He told DW that his client was checked by the police without any reason and they found pepper spray and a very small firecracker, the size of your little finger. “The problem was they were bought in Poland and don’t have the certification mark required in Germany. So when you buy pepper spray in another country it’s automatically illegal in Germany,” he said.

By implication that would mean the purchase of those items in Germany would have been legal. “The pepper spray could be legal if you would have ordered it in Germany. The same with the firecrackers. The only reason is that there wasn’t a German stamp on them,” said Burmeister.

Meanwhile, Stanislav’s lawyer also alleged his client is still being held is to make sure the trial goes ahead. “The only legal reason in law for pretrial custody is to ensure the trial. And I am 100% sure that in this case it’s not happening because of this legal reason it’s happening for political reasons.”

“This is something that Erdogan in Turkey does. He detains people from Amnesty International or journalists – and we are rightfully angry about this – but at the same time we’re doing it in Hamburg,” said Burmeister.

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