Date announced in extensive trial against anarchists in Belgium

Posted on april 18, 2019


From 2008, the Belgian State started a large investigation aiming at different struggles – but always without concessions – against detention centres, borders, prisons and the world of authority and exploitation. In its viewfi nder: the anarchist library Acrata, anarchist and anti-authoritarian publications (Hors Service, La Cavale and Tout doit partir), dozens of fl yers and posters, more than a hundred actions, attacks and sabotages…in other words the fi ght against Power in all its different expressions.

Initially charged with “participation to a terrorist group”, it is fi nally under the accusation of “criminal association” that 12 comrades will be on trial during the week of
29th April 2019.

Context
In late 2008, a midst diffuse hostilities triggered by the revolt in Greece following the assassination of Alexis by police, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor launches an investigation of anarchists and anti-authoritarians. In 2010, on the basis of a list of actions that the police attribute to the “anarchist movement” and while the struggle against the construction of a new detention centre in Steenokkerzeel is underway, examining judge Isabelle Panou is assigned
to the investigation, which has now fallen under anti-terrorist directive. In May, then in September 2013, a dozen house searches took place within this investigation, targeting different homes as well as the anarchist library Acrata in Brussels. It is on this occasion that the existence of an anti-terrorist investigation fi rst emerges. This investigation is led by the anti-terrorist branch of the Federal Judicial Police backed by the State Security and the General Intelligence and Security Agency of the army as well as various anti-terrorist branches of other European countries. The investigation is closed in 2014, culminating in the referral of twelve anarchists and anti- authoritarians to the Court Chambers.

In this investigation, the Federal Prosecutor has attempted to draw up no less than 29 individualized charges. Nine comrades are accused of belonging to a terrorist organization and involvement in terrorist activities for more or less extended periods. Three of them are also accused of being the “leaders”. In addition, three other people arrested in the wake of anattack on the police station of Marolles, Brussels are accused of belonging to this terrorist group for a day,as well as various charges related to the attack. This is as far as concerns the general accusation.

This is then complemented by more specific charges such as participation in a non-authorised demonstration outside the detention centre 127bis in Steenokkerzeel (transformed into “attempted arson” and a “terrorist offence” by the prosecutors), preparation and participation in an attack on the police station in Marolles (qualifi ed by the prosecution as a “terrorist act”), assault and wounding of police officers on several occasions, obstruction of the public road, damage in various forms, shoplifting, arson of prison guards’ cars in the Ittre prison car park, incitement to commit terrorist offences… It should be noted that these specific allegations are each aimed at specific comrades, that is to say not everyone has been charged with all the allegations.

The backdrop to this investigation that has gone on for several years and produced no fewer than 32 boxes of case files, is that the Federal Prosecutor hypothesizes that an “anarchist terrorist group” would be active, in particular in Brussels, and that the accused would have “participated” in or “favoured” those activities. For example it has produced a list of about 150 attacks, a good number of which incendiary, against the structures of domination, police stations, courts, banks, companies that enrich themselves in the business of incarceration, con-struction sites, cars of diplomats, Eurocrats and NATO officials, mobile phone antennas… All these attacks took place in Brussels and surrounding area between 2008 and 2013.

The invention of a terrorist group that would be responsible for all of these facts (if only by the fact of “having rendered them possible”) allows far-fetched acrobatics for the prosecution: a library becomes a place of recruitment, discussions become clandestine meetings, leafl ets and newspapers of anarchist critique become urban guerrilla manuals, demos and rallies become calls to terrorism, the affinity ties between people in struggle and the resulting self-organization become “a structured terrorist group.” The invention of an “anarchist terrorist group” is obviously a rather clumsy attempt by the State to reduce anti-authoritarian and revolutionary subversion
to the work of a single “structured group”. In trying to put a handful of inconvenient anarchists behind bars the State is seeking to discourage the refractory from taking direct action against what oppresses and exploits us and impose absolute silence on any desires, possibilities and critical reflections that clash with this authoritarian world.

What stands trial therefore is a mosaic of struggles, revolts, ideas, direct actions, critique, revolutionary
imaginaries, agitations that have been attempting to attack dominion for years. In this, the possible trial concerns not only the comrades accused, but also each individual, every anarchist, every revolutionary, every rebel against order, every insubordinate to authority who refuses to stand idly by in the face of exploitation and oppression. What is being targeted is the search for autonomy in action, selforganization in the struggle, direct action in all its diversity, the choice to defend and spread anarchist and revolutionary ideas, to participate along with other rebels in self-organized and autonomous fights. And fi nally, without any doubt, a combative approach of anarchism that starts from the individual, affinity, informality.

It would be absurd to separate the repression that is striking some anarchists and anti-authoritarians today from all the repression that is seeking to subdue (often preventively) any criticism of the established order and revolt. By dint of “terrorist threats”, refugee crisis, the fight against crime and very real wars, State repression today is going into top gear. At a time when change and restructuring is shifting the grounds of social confl ict faster and faster, neutralizing those who disturb their thinking and their plans is part of a process that targets the exploited and oppressed: the hardening of the conditions of survival, the militarization of borders, the imposition of massive technological control, the construction of new detention camps, etc.

To defend oneself against this repressive blow that wants to take to trial comrades on charges of terrorism is to defend any possibility and space of anarchist and anti-authoritarian action. And, through the solidarity with the accused comrades, is to resist State repression aimed at paralyzing all subversive action.

If fighting for freedom is a crime, innocence would be really the worst of all.

The Trail
After a hearing for the approval of the special investigation measures used in the context of this inquiry (tailing, phone tapping, microphones in a comrades’ house, secret house searches, infi ltration attempts, placing surveillance cameras outside of comrades’ houses and in one case, inside), in October 2015, the fi le was examined by the Chambre du Conseil. The hearing of this Chamber – whose objective was to decide if there would be grounds to proceed with a trial and which accusation would stand – is fi xed for May 2016. During this occasion the judge decides to postpone the hearing in order to clarify the issue of language, whether the court will be in French or in Dutch. It is thus decided that the offi cial language will be French, and a new appointment before the Chambre du Conseil is announced for May 2017, while the fi nal decision about proceeding with the trial and the eventual accusations would take place in August of the same year. Finally on the 22nd of October 2018, the offi cial date for the trial is set for the 29th April, 2019.

On the 1st of August 2018, the Chambre du Conseil of Brussels pronounced itself in favour of the continuation of the
trial and which accusations would be prosecuted. Before the accused were even informed of the outcome, a prosecutor’s
press statement was already circulating. Immediately echoed by journalists, the articles that followed contained nothing but mistakes, mixing this investigation with the one about the struggle against the maxi-prison, referring to facts that took place outside of the investigation period and getting all the accusations that would be brought to trial completely wrong.

First of all the Chambre withdrew from the case the aggravation “terrorist organization”, which the prosecution had attributed to a precise crime, eliminating entirely the accusation of participation to a terrorist group. Then the Chambre also dropped other accusations, for which it found insuffi cient proof, especially in the charges regarding the attack on a police station in Marolles (Brussels neighbourhood) on the 1st of October 2010, the arson of several prison guard cars in front of the prison of Ittre the 28th May 2011, the forgery of payslips, shoplifting, incitement to commit terrorist acts (which in fi rst instance it was changed into “incitement to commit crimes and offences” but that was later dropped due to prescription).

On the other hand the Chambre du Conseil changed “participation to a terrorist group” into “members of an association formed for the purposes of attacking people or property, through the perpetration of crimes or offences” (9 people accused) and changing “leaders of a terrorist group” into “provocateurs or leaders of an association formed for the purpose of attacking people or property, through the perpetration of crimes and offences” (3 people accused). The other accusations that will stand to trial are:

• Attempted arson of a detention centre for migrants in Steenokkerzeel during a demonstration
outside the centre on 21st January 2009 (a charge against 8 people)

• Having assaulted or resisted with violence and threats six policemen during the demonstration
outside the Steenokkerzeel detention centre for migrants on 21st January 2009 (8 accused)

• Having threatened a neighbour who called the police during a gathering with fi reworks outside
the prison of Forest on 4th October 2010 (a charge against 3 people)

• Property damage (or attempt to) of two limousines in the vicinity of the ‘Subversive books
gathering’ in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode on 15th October 2011, with the aggravating circumstance of
‘being motivated by hate’ (in this case, against the rich) (a charge against 3 people)

• Bodily harm to two limousine drivers during the same fi ght on 15th October 2011 (a charge
against 3 people)

• Bodily harm on a police offi cer during the night of 1st October 2010 in Brussels (a charge against
1 person)

• Having attacked or resisted with violence and threats two policemen during a demonstration in
Anderlecht on 12th November 2010 (a charge against 2 people)

• Fabrication and transport of weapons, in particular bent nails and iron bars, on 1st October 2010
and on 12th November 2010 (a charge against 4 people)

• Having insulted European Union civil servants in the Schuman metro station, with the
aggravating circumstance of ‘being motivated by hate’ (a charge against 3 people)

• Graffiti on three occasions (Molenbeek, Saint-Josse and Schuman), for some with the aggravating
circumstance of ‘being motivated by hate’ (against the rich and European Union civil servants) (a
charge against 7 people)

• Blocking of the traffi c during the fi ght on 15th October 2011 and during the demonstration in
Anderlecht on 12th November 2010 (a charge against 4 people)

• Having publicly self-attributed the title of honorary lawyer (a charge against 2 people)

More information:
https://lalime.noblogs.org

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