Dec 13 2018

Jailed Austrian activist case "not judicial but political" - Jacobin magazine

The socialist Jacobin magazine has published a statement on the imprisonment of its contributor, Max Zirngast, updating readers three months after the Austrian left-wing activist was detained by Turkish anti-terror police in the Turkish capital of Ankara, his city of residence.

Zirngast has been formally arrested and accused of membership of an illegal communist organisation. However, Jacobin noted, no formal indictment has yet been accepted by the court, Zirngast’s lawyers have been barred from seeing the details of the charges that have been presented, and a visitation application by Max’s friends has been denied without any justification.

“We insist: this is not a judicial but a political case. Journalism is not a crime, and Max did nothing to deserve being locked up in a high-security prison — especially when not even an indictment can be prepared to justify it, let alone a verdict,” the Jacobin said.

“Max has been criminalized for his political stance against the repressive regime in Turkey and for his activism on behalf of democratic rights in the country,” it added.

Zirngast, who has written critically about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was arrested alongside two Turkish left-wing activists, Hatice Göz and Mithatcan Türetken.

Events have been organised in New York and Switzerland to discuss the case, and Zirngast will be awarded the Karl Renner Solidarity Prize in Vienna on December 18.