Important information about anti-repression:
- Destroy “evidence”: despite chaotic scenes on the demonstration actions the cops usually take a lot of video footage. Additionally, many by-standers are filming and tend to publish these on social media. To protect yourself from a later legal proceeding, you should get rid of evidence such as clothing, shoes, other accessories. If you took videos on your private phone, you should either delete them/format your storage or encrypt the storage (ideally you should encrypt your phone anyhow).
- In case you have a raid, try to stay calm. A common mistake is, to try and warn people around you, which only leads the cops to these people. Act in a normal fashion (which includes of course to meet your close relationships) and discuss beforehand with your affinity groups, how you can savely communicate in these cases. More information in German here.
- No one should be left alone with repression! If you were arrested on the weekend or receive a letter from the cops or the court, get in contact with us via email or locally at the projects.
- Get in touch with us if you have any questions or need support.
First Aid in Case of legal proceedings
You were arrested at a demo or action or your personal information was taken? That can mean, that the cops want to investigate against you in a crime. the following wil explain to you, how such a crime investigation and legal procedure usually takes place.
Exceptions: In case you do not have an address that you are regstered in, the cops often assume the risk of flight at your arrest. Because they fear that a punishment at a later time might be unlikely due to your flight, they may try and arrest your straight away to bring your immediately in front of a custodial judge to decide, whether it is okay to let your free. Not having a registered address for a longer time thus increases your criminalisation by the cops.
People who do not have EU-citizenships should inform themselves prior to any action, how a legal procedure may affect they status.
1. Arrest/ Taking your personal information at an action/demonstration or (apparently) identifying you in another way conducting an apparent crime. In case you are arrested, you should only tell the police necessary information (Name, DOB, address, place of birth, nationality). Other than that, do not talk to the cops. This is a principle, that is important to us, as you only endager yurself or others through statements made to the cops. As we say in Germany, “Anna & Arthur keep their mouth shut!”. More about this principle only in German.
2. „Sumons” (1st letter) by the local police to your registered address: In this letter, you are informed that an you are being investigated. This letter usually arrives some days to weeks, but even months after the action/arrest. It lists the crimes that your apparently conducted, although maybe not alle of them. With this letter, the cops give your the “possibility” to give them a written or spoken statement. →You do not have to answer to this letter and you should not. Here, the principle remains the same: we do not talk to the cops. See above.
As soon as the cops close the investigation, they pass the file on to the prosecution. The prosecutor decided then, if the case should be legally followed up. If not, the case will be closed and you may recieve a letter telling that a case against you was close. If teh prosecutor wants to follow up on the case, she*he may ask the police to investigate more on certain information. In the end, the prosecutor passes the file on to the judge, who then judges on your case. It is common, that you only recieve months or even years later a penalty order or court process.
3. Penalty order (yellow letter) are shortened verdicts. That means, that your will be judged without a court procedure if you do not appeal within 14 days. The yellow letter can also be an accusation statement with a trial date. It is common, that the judge and/or the prosecutor only demand a trial if the crime is more heavy.
→You should definitely appeal within 14 days of receiving the letter (otherwise the penalty will become legally binding meaning your “accept the penalty”). You do not have to justify your appeal and you can withdraw your appeal until the first day of trial without having any disadantages. This gives you time – to find support, contact a laywer, develop a strategy [in German more on this].
This is the earliest it makes sense to get a laywer. They can advice you, formulate the appeal and demand access to the file. You can also file an appeal and demand the file for yourself. The following link shows a sample in German.
After the appeal it can again take some weeks to months until your here again from the court. The case may be closed or you will recieve your first appointment for your trial.
4. “Angaben zur Person”: a letter that can come anytime from the police or the court, which demands you to give out your personal information.
→ Generally, you only ever have to give the cops the information as stated above (name, adress, DOB, place of birth). In case you do not answer to this letter, you may have to pay a fine. Since usually the cops already have this information from/ can access this information in their databank, we advice your to answer to this letter. Just be careful not to leave your finger prints on the letter. To avoic this, best is to send the reply as a fax!
Additionally, this flyer by the red aid can give tips and support in case of repression in the form of legal procedures and letters by the cops. Also, the red aid [Rote Hilfe e.V.] offers support in their local branches [website in German].
In case of experiences of cop violence this broschure can give you some first emotional aid. It is absolutely normal after experiencing violence to feel very emotionally upset, sad or even depressive. In extreme cases of violence, it makes sens to seek psychological help. Maybe your local GP can give you some first advice on this. Also the reading list of OutOfAction gives some advice [German only].