HIC concern about and protest against the arrest and incarceration of Dr. Andrej Holm and three others on the basis of allegations that the four belong to a “terrorist militant group”


Santiago, Chile, August 16th, 2007

Der Generalbundesanwalt beim Bundesgerichtshof
c/o Ermittlungsrichter Hebenstreit
Herrenstraße 45
D-76133 Karlsruhe

Der Generalbundesanwalt beim Bundesgerichtshof
Brauerstraße 30
D-76137 Karlsruhe
Fax + 49 7 21 819 14 92
E-mail: presse@generalbundesanwalt.de

Dear Federal Prosecutor,

In the name of the Habitat International Coalition (HIC) a world wide
network of social, academic and non-governmental organizations advocating
for a place to live in peace and dignity, we express our strongest concern
about and protest against the arrest and incarceration of Dr. Andrej Holm
and three others on the basis of allegations that the four belong to a
terrorist militant group. The information we received from German media and
civil society organizations shows that there is no hard evidence against the
four. They were arrested on the basis of a concatenation of circumstances.

German police searched on 31st July 2007 the flats and workplaces of Dr.
Andrej Holm and three others. Dr. Holm was arrested, flown by helicopter to
the German Federal Court in Karlsruhe and brought before the custodial
judge. Since then he has been held in pretrial confinement in a Berlin jail.
All four people have been charged with “membership in a terrorist
association according to § 129a StGB” (Section 7 of the German Penal Code,
“Crimes against Public Order). They are alleged to be members of a
so-called ‘Militante Gruppe’. The search warrant revealed that preliminary
proceedings against these four people have been going on since September
2006 and that the four had been under constant surveillance.

The basis for this very serious charge is very flimsy and circumstantial.
Names and addresses appear in an address book, use of phrases and key words
which are ordinarily found in research publications, even such a word as
“gentrification” which any social science student would know. The twisted
reasoning uses even Dr. Holm’s academic standing to say he could author
sophisticated texts of the so-called “Militante Gruppe”.

Another justification is participation in the resistance mounted against the
World Economic Summit of 2007 in Heiligendamm. This reason is slippery and
dangerous; all anti-globalization activists can now be considered

Through these constructs, every academic research activity and political
work is presented as potentially criminal. Critical research, in particular
that linked with political engagement, is turned into ideological ring
leadership and “terrorism”.

Dr. Holm and the three others have been detained since 1st August 2007 in
Berlin-Moabit under very strict conditions: they are locked in solitary
confinement 23 hours a day and are allowed only one hour of courtyard walk.
Visits are limited to a total of half an hour every two weeks. Contacts,
including contacts with lawyers, are allowed only through separation panes.
The mail of the defense is checked.

Germany is touted as a democratic country after having overcome its terrible
undemocratic past. The arrest and detention of Mr. Holm and others can only
be viewed with deep concern as indicative of retrogression justified in the
name of fighting terrorism.

We therefore demand that the Federal Prosecutor:

· Immediately suspend all proceedings against all parties concerned and
release from jail at once Dr. Holm and the others.

· Stop all surveillance against social activists and scientists, including
those working among tenant associations and anti-globalization

· Respect freedom of academic research and political work.

· Abolish § 129, 129a, and 129b laws.

Sincerely yours,

Ana Sugranyes, Ph.D.
General Secretary
Habitat International Coalition (HIC)

Bueras 142, Of.22, Santiago Centro
8320135 Santiago – Chile

Tel./Fax: +56 2 664 1393, +56 2 664 9390
Mobile: +56 99 837 3649
Email: general.secretary@hic-net.org
Skype address:
HIC website: hic-net.org
Santiago, Chile, August 16th, 2007