Authorities in Denmark arrest leaders of legal danish political party
"Free speech apparently doesn't apply in Denmark"
Denmark, February 21st, 2006
Danish authorities on February 20th arrested 4 members of the danish Left Socialists Party (Venstresocialisterne, VS), among them several of the partys leaders, and presented arrestorders against 3 more members. All 7 seven are accused of violation of §114a in the danish criminal code prohibiting support for foreign terrorist organizations. This section has a maximum penalty range of 10 years prison.
VS was presented in parliament with 4-6 members during 1967-87, and has since been an integral part of the danish left-green alliance (Enhedslisten), that is presently represented in the danish parliament with 6 members.
Since its creation in 1967 VS has been working in support of national liberation movements in the 3. World, having supported the FLN during the Vietnam War, ANC and SWAPO in southern africa in their fight against the apartheid regime in South Africa, PFLP in Palestine in its struggle against the Israeli occupation of Palestine, FMLN in El Salvador, URNG in Guatemala, FSLN in Nicaragua, and many other national liberation movements in Latin America that have fought against military dictatorships.
6 months ago the party formed a company, Fighters & Lovers, whose purpose was to sell T-shirts on the internet in support of the national liberation movements PFLP in Palestine and FARC in Colombia. Both organizations are on the EU list of terrororganizations, but this list has no legal status in Denmark, and VS regards both organizations as national liberation movements, not as terrororganizations.
Some people nonetheless regard these organizations as terrororganizations, just as the liberation movement in Denmark during the 2. WW was characterized by the occupying german forces and its danish collaborators as terrorists.
The VS company Fighters & Lovers started selling T-shirts on January 10th 2006, and the authorities reacted 5 weeks later by arresting 7 members of the party, closing the company WEB site - in violation of the danish constitution prohibiting censorship - confiscating 3.000 Euro, and computer equipment the authorities claim was used by the company.
The VS members were released the same day, but the authorities have upheld the charges of violation of §114a. "We regard the charges and the closing of our WEB site as a blatant violation of the danish constitution and its guarantees for free speech, aganist censorship", states Michael Schoelardt, member of the national leadership of VS and director of Fighters & Lovers. He continues: "The danish prime minister has referred to the "unrecovocable status of free speech" in his defense of drawings in the danish newspaper "Jyllandsposten". Drawings that have provoked a considerable part of the world population. But free speech aparently doesn't apply in Denmark, when it comes to support for the palestinian liberation struggle or the struggle in Colombia for freedom and democracy, against the government death squads and repression. VS has supported national liberation struggles around the world for nearly 40 years, and will continue to do so, even though democracy in Denmark is under fierce attack from right wing parties these years", he concludes.
The danish authorities during the last 5-10 years have been in a proces of limiting the spaces for democracy in Denmark. Especially for refugees and emmigrant. The present danish government has been especially active in promoting xenophobia, and campaigns against primarily muslim emmigrants. These measures have been critizised by other countries in Europe, the Human Rights Commission of the European Council, and several UN institutions. VS urges the international community and especially the international human rights organizations to monitor the developments in Denmark closely, and especially the ongoing restrictions on Democracy.
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