Ernst Zundel Update
[Ernst Zundel is a Prisoner of Conscience in his 60s, serving a lengthy prison term in Germany for Thoughtcrime.]
Dear [name deleted]
I want to thank you for the birthday card, the E 5.00 and the stamps you enclosed for me. A word of caution! The greeting card you sent had elaborate foam pads behind the actual image to give it a 3-D feeling. Although it is nice, it was suspicious even to the Canadian postal authorities - it was bulgy and it was held back, opened and examined in Toronto already - and thus received Special Handling Attention, which delayed it for that reason.
Once it arrived here in prison, it again caused suspicion for the same reason, because it could contain dope or worse. Remember they had the same fears in Canada at Toronto West and did not let me have some cards. So keep that in mind, please, and let our friends know that these nice, expensive cards cause problems for people in prisons.
Plain cards, and even some photocopies are now allowed, even the odd booklet. They do not allow me full size books - they go to the "Asservaten Kammer" and are kept there till I am released on 1. March 2010, unless of course higher courts overturn the verdicts etc. of lower courts. In my opinion - after the kind of "quality" of justice I have seen and hear of every day from other prisoners - the Germans have a long way to go before they even come near Anglo-Saxon legal traditions and treatments of people in courts. Only ignoramuses about the situation here and Germanophiles cannot see what ails this system.
They have no verbatim/word for word transcripts in criminal trials, which invites - no, it guarantees! - abuses and injustices. The German system of Criminal Justice can not recover its reputation of fairness or procedural correctness until they restore what was routine in Germany and is still routine in the Canadian, American and British justice systems for centuries!!!
The Inquisition had verbatim transcripts, even Nuremberg tribunals had transcripts - although there, testimony could be expunged from the record, which was done for instance in Streicher's case where, incredibly, the Streicher "defense" attorney agreed to have important testimony about Streicher's torture stricken from the record at the request of the prosecutors - with the consent of the presiding judges!
Every regime since before Bismarck, including the Weimar Republic and even the Third Reich [and what followed] had verbatim transcripts till 1972 - then it was done away with in criminal proceedings, but not in civil proceedings - apparently. The reason? "To make the court more efficient" - a lie of course. I suppose civil suits can remain inefficient?
Even Judge Blais in Toronto was astonished when I mentioned the no transcript situation. But who is aware of these details of history, as Jean Marie Le Pen would call them? No one!
But now for the actual legal situation on the ground here. I still am battling for my mail from 2005, 2006. 2007. There are approximately 1500 pieces of mail in boxes that have not been released to me. I negotiated a release-deal-method with officials - instead, after releasing some postcards and short letters - suddenly 185 letters were seized that were 2 to 3 years old. The reason for the seizure? People wrote me letters and cards that contained compliments, calling for me to hang in there etc.! - That, it was felt, was opposed to the aim of my conviction!
Remember, I am still subject to spot censorship!
I was also ruled ineligible for transfer to the pensioners' prison in Singen and was ordered to serve my whole time - that means till March 1, 2010 - here in Mannheim. The reason? They were amazingly frank about it. The Singen Facility would allow me to live in a much more relaxed and open atmosphere, with frequent trips into town to shop, etc. Media people would seek me out, and that would result in articles - and that, in turn, would bring unrest into the institution, made up of mostly elderly people, all of whom would have suffered under the old regime. Thus, for the good of the other inmates, I would have to be kept here, even though by age 62 I was to be entitled to serve my time in an "Altenknast."
It was decided by the prison administration's resident jurist that I would get no relaxation of conditions, but would have to serve my time in full, "ohne Freigang", which is when one gets to go into town in the presence of uniformed (?) prison officials. Instead I would serve my time, locked up in prison.
I have hired a new woman lawyer. She is a specialist in Prison Rights - and has now submitted these decisions to the local "Strafvollstreckungskammer" which has a reputation to see things the prisons and the convicting judges do as a rule. That means we will have to appeal that "3 rulings package" to the Oberlandsgericht Karlsruhe.
All that of course takes time. That is the aim of all this chicanery, for every day I am forced to spend in the "non-relaxed" atmosphere - [the opposite of what] I am entitled to by age and tradition - means what in America is known as cruel and unusual punishment. Should the OLG Karlsruhe decide against me, then I could appeal it to theBundesgerichthof and the Bundesverfassungsgericht.
[Comment: The first has already turned down Ernst's appeal...]
All these legal moves take their time because the courts are busy, dockets are full. Add this to the legal fees and especially the court costs, which are steep here and have been regularly assessed against me - for instance a 1 1/2 pge. decision, naturally against me, at E 1200.00 just for this one sheet of paper that had to be paid "sofort" [immediately]. My court costs for the Mannheimer Verfahren were assessed at E 59,829.00. To this must be added the payments for legal fees for my own "Wahl-Anwalte" (chosen Solicitors) like Rieger, Dr. Schaller, Sylvia Stolz, R.A. Bock and Gisa Pahl in Hamburg, and now this new Mannheim specialist lawyer. These costs, too, had to be paid at once. Ingrid and I are paying off these horrendous costs in installments.
Dr. Schaller challenged the "non-counting" of my two years and one month in Canada's Guantanamo North- (Toronto West and Thorold), with the local "Staatsanwaltschaft Strafvollstreckungskammer". They ruled that the two years would not be counted, as the lower court had decided last year already. We challenged that with the appeal court(Oberlandesgericht-Karlsruhe). They, too, ruled against me - the two years would not be counted.
Now I have to decide if we can raise the money to go on to the Bundesgerichtshof and then the Bundesverfassungsgericht - and of course for the legal fees for my lawyers.
And, finally, one of the most important legal moves was to submit "eine Beschwerde" (a complaint) an appeal for review and redress with the European Court of Human Rights in Strassbourg. That was one hell of a document to prepare, and I had to wrestle and argue with my own lawyers, to expand the document to the events of my kidnapping and expulsion first from the US, then explain the reasons for the arrest and proceedings in Canada before Blais - and how all this came about. Luckily we gained access to very important documents during the Mannheim and the American proceedings that showed e-mails and lots of faxes on official letterheads by the highest authorities in America, Germany and Canada, documenting and detailing at least some aspects of this "Operation Atlantik" as the Germans called the hunt for my capture in documents going way back to the 1990s. Dr. Schaller's document finally condensed all this down to 63 pages - and for the first time explained it more or less coherently, given the constraints and format of these Strasburg proceedings.
The title of the documents is:
"Ernst Zundel gegen BRD". The date it was submitted was May 8, 2008.
All that work, legal research, preparation etc. have to be paid.
Comment: Our readers need to understand that all the bills are handled and paid by me, his wife, since of course Ernst is prevented from keeping such regular, emotionally and time-consuming fundraising efforts going from inside his cell.
If you would like to be put on our mailing list for updates or by contributing to our efforts to keep this case before the courts and media, please write to:
3152 Parkway, 13-109
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Can you send money to Ernst directly to help him pay for stamps, phone calls, and the occasional "shopping trip" to the prison store? Yes, in small amounts. Ernst is allowed to receive small bills in cash in Euro or US$ from his friends and supporters. Please don't send any checks or money orders to him, especially from countries other than Germany. Ernst cannot deposit or cash them.
His address is:
Herzogenried Strasse 111