We are happy to report some good news from Lyon, France! You’ll recall that last month we sent some emergency support to help provide for the legal defence of seven antifascists there after a confrontation with les fachos this past summer. The situation was grim, with three of our friends in pretrial detention for weeks and all of them facing the possibility of years behind bars.
On 4 November the family & supporters of the seven defendants packed a Lyon courtroom to witness a brilliant legal display as our friend’s defence lawyers – lawyers who the defendants were able to hire thanks in no small part to our contribution – tore the prosecution’s case to shreds!
This story goes into full detail about the day’s proceedings. Suffice to say, not having a working copy of the surveillance video that was to be the centrepiece of the prosecution’s case was encouraging. Then the defence lawyers brought up the illegal searches of the accused’s homes; the lack of “victims” willing to come forward to testify or provide evidence; and the attempt to criminalise anti-fascism and even anarchism by using anti-fascist/anarchist stickers & books as “evidence” in the case. At times, the ludicrious nature of the prosecution’s case merited outbursts of laughter from the gallery.
In the end, the defence’s arguments – that the police knowingly concealed video evidence, refused to produce witness, and tried to frame anti-fascism as a crime – won out! Three of the seven defendants are acquitted completely; four are found guilty on the most minor of charges and fined €300; two of the four received one-month suspended sentences for refusing to provide the police with the password for their cell phones or DNA samples.
This was a huge victory for anti-fascism in a city rocked by fascist attacks in recent months and it was made possible in no small part by the contribution we were able to send to pay for good lawyers to defend our friends! If you’ve ever made a contribution to The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund, you were a key part of this victory! Please take time today to raise a glass to yourselves! If you haven’t yet made a contribution to the Defence Fund, there is no time like the present to do so!