A SOAS student has been detained in prison in Frankfurt since 10am Wednesday 18th March, with charges of 'vilolation of public order'. He has been denied bail and house arrest because he is considered at risk of leaving the country before the trial.
His current detention is justified through an unexplainably rigid interpretation of German law, and he is being kept in by a pre-trial detention order that will keep him in prison until trial date, which is to be fixed in the next 2-3 months.
We believe that, in accordance to basic human rights, enshrined in German law as well as European and international treaties, he is innocent until proven guilty.
His name is Federico Annibale, a much loved Postgraduate student here at SOAS and an active and highly valued member of our students' community. Federico is one of us, and he could be any of us – he could be any student protesting against injustice. As an Italian student he knows all too well the effects of austerity on Eurozone countries and Britain. He travelled to Frankfurt with many others to challenge this economic injustice. We believe the German authorities have chosen to scapegoat him, victimizing him out of all other arrested protesters because of his foreign nationality.
His arrest was politically motivated, and his detention is a tool of intimidation. This breach of human rights is a testament to the complicity of state security in neoliberalism. The ECB is at the epicentre of this, one of the three institutions (alongside the IMF and European Commission) which orchestrates the troika's policy of crippling debt. On March 18th 2015 the ECB attempted to open its new headquarters in Frankfurt. A dizzying 1.3 billion euros was spent on a 185-meter-high fortress-like twin tower building, surrounded by a fence and castle moat. This was supposed to be a grand opening gala with several European state leaders and the European finance oligarchy present. On that day thousands converged from all over Europe to show that there is nothing to celebrate about austerity and poverty.
In spite of police violence, demonstrators exercised their right to take to the streets and blockade the event. In a supposed "financial capital", activists reclaimed the city and asserted a new collective narrative beyond the violence of austerity and the police state. Set against this backdrop, Federico's unwarranted detention is an attempt to undermine the overwhelming opposition to today’s financial order.
We call for Federico's release and for due process to be followed in his judicial proceedings. We are working with students and with Fede's lawyers to try to ensure his release.
Please support Federico by liking the Free Fede Facebook Page
Please take a moment to write a letter to Federico. You can post your messages, poems, readings, songs and thoughts through the box provided outside of the Union's office door (room G8 - SOAS Main Building).
No Justice, No Peace, Free Fede!