Legal Aid advices for the demonstration „Murder never prescribes“

Legal Aid advices for the demonstration „Murder never prescribes“ – 10 years after the murder of Marcus Omofuma commited by the austrian police on may 1st 1999.

What is legal aid (Rechtshilfe, RH) and what does it do?
Primarily, Rechtshilfe is a telephone – hotline which tries to help arrested people via legal support together with a lawyer. During the demonstration on the 1st of may there are flyers distributed with the phone-number of the Rechtshilfe – you should write the number on your arm in order to keep it with you all the time and to have it with you in stressful situations – at best you use a waterproofed pencil. When you observe a detention or if you are arrested yourself, please contact the Rechtshilfe and tell them all the information you have. You can also inform the Rechtshilfe about harassments, mobility – constraints or other forms of violations of rights.
Rechtshilfe understands its activities as being part of the demonstration on 1st of may 2009 and is going to try to support victims of repression before, during and after it in a solidary way. In case that you receive post of public authorities after the demonstration – please contact the Rechtshilfe immediately, in order to coordinate the procedure collectively. Repression always affects individuals, but it is directed against all activists.
The number of the Rechtshilfe is the following: 0650/3416872

Controls before the demonstration:
Sometimes it can happen, that the police wants to see your documents or search through your stuff even before you reached the demonstration. Principally the police is obliged to tell you the reason (purpose and cause) for the „legal act“. However, experience shows that they are going to tell you some spongy reasons like „maintenance of the public security“ or something like that. After such a personal search it is your right to ask the officials for their police officer..s number („Dienstnummer“). The “Dienstnummer” functions like a sort of business card and shows the officials affiliation etc. (in case that you ask for it, this is the corresponding article: §31 Abs2 Z2 SPG). Mostly the police is going to ask you for more than your name, date of birth and your registered address; but you don..t have and you definitely should not tell them more than these three informations (this is the corresponding article: §35 Abs2 SPG), because this data is sufficient to
check out your identity (attention minors, i.e. persons under 18 years: you also have to indicate your parents.. names!). It is also very likely that the police is going to ask you for the reason that you are at the demonstration, where you live etc. but you don..t have to answer such questions and you definitely should not – there are not going to be any legal consequences if you don..t answer!

In case that they are searching through your clothes in search for dangerous objects, women have the right to get searched by a police – woman.

If someone does not have documents: principally, austrian citizens are not obliged to carry an identification card but we advise you to bring one, because the checking of your identity is going to take much more time and you could even be forced to go to a police station without ID card. Anyway, any other person older than 18 years who carries an identity card can attest your identity.
Important: persons who are not austrian citizens nor EU-citizens are OBLIGED to carry an identity card or some other document which proofs their identity!

Demonstration – how and what:
Most demonstrations get registered at the police by the organizing team. This means that the police knows about the demonstration and is going to be prepared for it. The authorization by the police is not needed for a political manifestation (i.e.: demonstration) according to the law. The law concerning assemblies is a constitutional law which means that it “counts” more than for example the laws concerning traffic etc. This means further, that a demonstration – also a demonstration which has not been declared in advance and which is spontaneous can NEVER be “illegal”, because the so called “freedom of assembly” is a basic right and more important than the regular traffic flow for example. Only in very few cases, like for example when the public order or the public security is endangered or in the case of Neo-Nazi demonstrations the police can stop the demonstration – ones which are declared in advance as well as spontaneous ones. The worst thing which can hap
pen regarding spontaneous demonstrations is an administrative penalty.

What you should bring to a demonstration: an official identification card with photo (f.e.: driving licence, student ID, pupil..s ID, passport etc.), non-alcoholic drinks, in case that you stay longer and the phone number of the “Rechtshilfe” (at the best waterproofely written on your arm). Don..t bring things like address books, notebooks, calendars, photos, knives, pepper sprays, dogs, drugs and alcohol to the demonstration. One should always be aware of the fact that also mobile phones with lists of telephone numbers could endanger oneself and other people (even when they are turned off) as soon as f.e. the police gets them. Furthermore one should be aware of the fact that via mobile phones it is easy to reconstruct a “profile of your movement”, because every mobile phone is also a sort of tracking transmitter. It is also easily reconstructed who called whom where and when – the police only needs to send the mobile phone provider a fax. Because of that our advice
would be to leave the mobile phone at home or at least to turn it off and only switch it on in cases of emergency.

If you are not taking pictures/videos for some left-wing political project then please don..t do it during the demonstration! Souvenir photos made with a mobile phone – camera can endanger yourself and others when f.e. the police gets hold of them!

Form affinity groups („Bezugsgruppen“, for the definition and their function see: … t00037.htm – Punkt 4) and go together to the meeting point in order that nobody is alone, this is also important when you leave the demonstration. Stay together at the demonstration and try to be informed and inform the others about what is going on (pay attention to announcements via megaphone)

Very important: Please keep in mind that there are participants at the demonstration who don..t have documents or who are illegalized. Therefore try not to endanger anyone by your own actions, try not to involve anybody in dangerous situations. Whatever form of action you choose during the demonstration – a solidary and collective way of acting is immensely important in order to make it possible for people without documents to participate at the demonstration! Always try to protect concerned persons in the case of police assaults!

Experience shows that during such demonstrations there are always some civilian (or undercover) policewo/men who are more or less well masked as activists. Therefore don..t yell around your real names, use „Hey you!“ instead to address people. Furthermore the police is filming very much at the margins of such a demonstration and people who are covering their faces with scarves, rags, etc. in order to make themselves unrecognizable are not allowed to do this because of the ban on mummery. But people are of course allowed to wear theatre masks, to use make-up etc. because this is not an obscuration of one..s identity but part of the political performance.
Furthermore the ban on mummery prohibits carrying chains, bars, drinking bottles, studded belts etc., because these objects could be used violently against persons or objects – says the law. What exactly can be defined as such a potentially dangerous object is very much depending on the concrete police official because it is them to decide – however it would be in accordance with the law to declare a drinking bottle to be such a potentially dangerous object.

Also pay attention to Neonazi-teams who observe the demonstration and also can film – protect yourself and others!

Don..t let anybody intimidate you and take care of the others!

Detention – yourself + as witness:
In the case that you are arrested: try to stay calm and not to panic. No matter what the police tells you – they will always try to intimidate you and to break possible resistance. When you are arrested try to tell people who are near you who you are (name, date of birth, registered address) so that they can inform the “Rechtshilfe”. If you are not of full age yet, i.e. under 18 years old, than you have the right to call for a person of your confidence who is allowed to stay at your side during the whole period of detention.

Probably you will be sent to a police station where you have the right to make two successful phone calls (§ 171 Abs 3 Z1 StPO). We advice you to claim your right to make these calls in a polite but decisive way. When you make your calls call the “Rechtshilfe” and in the case that you don..t reach them call a person whom you trust and tell her / him about your detention, your name, date of birth, where you have been arrested and where you think that you are (which police station), if there are others arrested together with you and who should be informed by the “Rechtshilfe” (f.e. your parents). Furthermore the police has to tell you why they arrested you and that it is your right to refuse any statement and that the denial to say anything would not have any legal consequences (§7 Abs 2 StPO).

Never talk with the police during your detention, even the most harmless topics (like the weather or pets) could possibly lead you to topics you should not talk about. Never let the police intimidate you by their aggressiveness nor trust their kindness – they are trained for situation like these and they absolutely would like to know what you are doing, where you are organized, with whom you came to the demonstration etc. Just tell them that you are relying on your right to deny any statement (§7 Abs 2 StPO). We strongly advice you (like most of the lawyers would do) NOT to give any statement, don..t sign anything, because everything is going to be turned against you later on. You can give your statements later after you contacted a lawyer or a person who is familiar with the legal system. Even if the police tries to convince you that a statement would improve your legal situation or that your penalty is going to be diminished if you give them a statement: never forget th
at the police is not in charge to judge about chargeable actions, it is only the court where such judgements are possible!

It may be possible that the arrested people are subjected to a “police record treatment”. This means that they are going to take you fingerprints and photos of you. They can do that, they are even authorized to do it violently in case that you refuse the treatment (§78 SPG), but nobody forbids that you look as funny as possible on the photo!

Other „examinations“ like f.e. a check of your body – orifices may only be done by police medicals or court medicals and only if there is the suspicion that you hide some drugs. In this case you don..t have the right anymore to demand a checking person of your own sex.

Guideline for the period of detention:
In case of “administrative offences” (“Verwaltungsübertretung”) like f.e. arousal of public annoyance, annoyance due to noise you have to be released after maximum 24 h.

In the case of judicially chargeable delicts like damage to property, civil disorder … you have to be released after maximum 48 h and you have to be brought to court within the same period of time. At the court you have to be interrogated by the examining magistrate (”UntersuchungsrichterIn”) immediately – but at least within the next 48 h again. The examining magistrate is the person who decides if you are released or if you are arrested on remand (“Untersuchungshaft”). Also at this interrogation you don..t have to give any statements! In the case of arrestment on remand you receive a written arrest warrant. At this time you already should have contacted a lawyer.
Important: When you are released please contact immediately the „Rechtshilfe“ and tell them!

Furthermore you should write a memory protocol after your release, trying to describe in detail what happened during your detention. These protocols are used to reconstruct what exactly happened so please don..t publish them, don..t send them via Email – put them at a secure place or give them to the „Rechtshilfe“.

In the case that you have been mistreated during your detention you can appeal at the independent administrative senate („Unabhängiger Verwaltungssenat). The „Rechtshilfe“ is going to give you the necessary advices how to do that!

In the case that you are injured please contact immediately a doctor whom you trust, let her / him confirm what happened and take pictures of your injuries! In the case of possible trials this could be of use for you!

In the case that you are observing an arrest: try to figure out the name, date of birth and the address of the arrested person and give this information to the “Rechtshilfe”. Call the “Rechtshilfe” and tell them where the arrest has taken place. Furthermore you can try to ask the involved Police officials where the arrested person is going to be transferred, why the person got arrested and ask for the police officer..s number of the involved police officials.

In the case that persons are injured:
Try to get them out of dangerous zones, try to calm them and try to find persons with a First-Aid equipment. Never leave injured persons alone! If you have the feeling that the injury is severe or that you cannot cope with the situation alone then call the ambulance and try to find a person who accompanies the injured to the hospital.

Take care of each other and build chains in cases of emergency. Don..t let anybody provoke you and act in a solidary way – protest can be very multifaceted!
Never endanger the other activists and think twice about your actions, be creative concerning the handling of repression. The demonstration is going to be what all of us make it to be!