Sunday, July 30, 2006

Akubuo has won almost all the charges against him - BUT...

After a court hearing at the Inferior Court (Amtsgericht) in Parchim, which took four days, the collective trial against human rights activist Akubuo A. Chukwudi ended with one acquittal, four suspensions and one sentence.

Akubuo used the trial itself to accuse the authorities and institutions in the district of Parchim. He described in detail the extreme living conditions and everyday humiliations refugees living in that region are subject to. A great number of the refugee activists who came to observe the trial experienced similar things in the districts they were forced to live in. The anti-refugee extremism Akubuo experienced in Parchim is not concentrated on that region, it is existent in the whole country of Germany. It is an example of the thoroughly organised system of state racism and the effects state racism has on the way large parts of the population act and behave.

After the indictment had been read out, Akubuo confronted the court with hundreds of complaints and accusations he had sent to the competent authorities during the 11 years he was forced to spend in Parchim.

From two suitcases he took the documents about 10 years of fighting for dignity and human rights. He spread them out on the floor forming a row which was several metres long.

Akubuo says his fight for his own rights and the rights of other refugees is a permanent argument on
all levels. He had turned to authorities, the mayor, the district magistrate (Landrat), the police etc. extremely often, complaining about "jungle homes", the discriminatory coupon system, corruption, maltreatments, but had not achieved any improvements. Because of this ignorance he was forced to act more drastically and directly in order to point out this injustice.

After many years of resistance and publicity work by Akubuo, the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern gave up the coupon system and closed the jungle homes Akubuo had criticised as inhuman. But, Akubuo said in court, the authorities do not see this as a step towards more humanity and thank him for his engagement, they go on persecuting him with criminal proceedings. Neither the judge nor the public prosecutor could hold against this. Four proceedings from the years 1999 - 2001 were dropped right at the beginning of the trial. The indictments in these cases were related to arguments in supermarkets which had used the coupon system and to arguments with the social welfare office and the foreigners office (Ausländeramt). There were two accusations left to be tried, one from 2003 and one from 2004.

Akubuo was indicted for mayhem after he and a friend of his had been the victims of a racist attack in front of a discotheque and Akubuo had hurt one of the attackers in self-defence. One of the racists beat Akubuo in the face with his fist even though Akubuo was already injured at the presence of the police. The proceedings against him were dropped soon, whereagainst Akubuo, victim of the attack, was indicted himself. After the interrogation of three witnesses who obviously came from the circle of the attackers themselves, even the public prosecutor pleaded acquittal.

The other indictment was one of attempted robbery followed by negligent bodily injury in an Aldi
supermarket. Akubuo described impressively the refugees discrimination and humiliation caused by the coupon system. This system led to permanent arguments with supermarket employees, who, following the orders their central office had given them, never gave back more than 10 % of the change. This form of paying makes it impossible for buyers to buy the things they need. Employees took articles from the buyers trolleys or put in more articles to reach the 10 % maximum. Some employees even started their own dishonest business using the coupons. They paid 70 % cash for the coupons and redeemed them later, thus making a 30 % profit.

Akubuos fight against the coupon system irritated people who found their additional income was in
danger. During Akubuos trial the indictment of attempted robbery soon turned out to have been invented by the Aldi supermarket. Akubuo wanted to pay his articles with two 20 Euro coupons. The cashier refused to accept them and started taking articles from the trolley in order to reduce the sum to fit one 20 Euro coupon. Logically, this led to an argument. Akubuo decided to give up the change and leave the counter with the trolley and the articles he had bought. The cashier tugged at the trolley and Akubuo did not let go; the cashier, who was helped by several people, is said to have been hurt in that situation. Akubuo let go of the trolley, took his coupons and left. Photos, which had been made privately, showed blue marks on the right side of the cashiers body.

When Akubuo asked the witnesses whether they accused him of theft or attempted robbery, all of them said no. Therefore this trial should have ended with an acquittal as well. However, it became obvious that the court did not want the trial to end without a sentence. The "attempted robbery" was changed into "attempted duress", and the public prosecutor pleaded a fine consisting of 30 day rates, 11 Euros each.

Akubuos counsel, Gabriele Heinecke, pointed out to the court that, since Akubuo was not guilty of attempted robbery, positions had changed. She said the defendant had paid the articles so they were his property, and no-one had the right to stop him from taking his property with him. So, she said, the cashier was the one who was guilty of attempted duress.

The judge refused to accept this evident logic and sentenced Akubuo to a fine of 15 day rates, 11 Euros each, for attempted duress and negligent bodily injury. Akubuo and his counsel reserve to themselves turning to the higher authority.

Akubuo showed his untiring will to fight for justice during the four days in the Parchim Inferior Court (Amtsgericht), making it clear that this fight is most difficult but also most necessary and justified. Defending yourself against being deprived of rights does not make you guilty. The guilty party is the one who makes deprivation of rights legal and translates such laws into action. Whether in Parchim, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern or in the whole country of Germany, the fight against deportation, discrimination and state racism will go on.

1 comment:

Hugo Denis said...

Very interesting content.

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