As you know, hundreds of people are currently on trial in Switzerland for taking part in actions for the climate and biodiversity.
However, participation in such actions is covered by the freedoms of expression and association enshrined in our Constitution and in the European Convention on Human Rights. Hence, in addition to our climate and biodiversity being at risk, the foundations of our democracy are also threatened by the legal procedures.
Legal support for those affected costs us around CHF 20,000 a month.
We want to cover these costs by mobilizing a large number of people who are willing to make small donations on a regular basis (e.g. CHF 30 per month would be enough if each of the 200 people directly affected could mobilize three more).
Single contributions are of course also welcome if you prefer. Many of you have already supported us or are still doing so and we thank you very much for that. We ask you to forward this campaign to your friends, family and acquaintances who may also be able to contribute.
To make a contribution, please transfer (as a single or regular payment) to the following account:
CH74 0839 0036 7366 1010 3
Chemin de Mémise 8 - 1800 Vevey
This financial support will initially be used to cover the costs of the legal consequences of the XR actions carried out in Zurich in 2020 and 2021. More than 200 participants were prosecuted disproportionately for “coercion” (“Nötigung” / “Contrainte”) - what is understood to be a serious crime in our penal code!
The charge of “coercion” was applied indiscriminately to all persons stopped by local police during the actions, regardless if they played an active role or were simply present to show their support. It is an unprecedented attempt to discourage participation in peaceful protests in Switzerland.
It is therefore essential to defend ourselves and not to give up, even at the risk that the expression of political opinions (and the insistence on scientific facts!) can lead to a criminal record and a fine of several thousand francs.
A first victory in court which opens the way to more!
In addition to providing financial support to those who need help, we would like to use a number of processes to show that climate activists are being prosecuted and sentenced in disregard for the rights guaranteed in the Swiss Constitution (Art. 16) and the European Convention on Human Rights (Art. 11).
For this purpose, the “Strasbourg Group” was formed by some rebels who are motivated to go to the European Court of Human Rights if this should be necessary.
A first victory has already been achieved when a participant in the #NoGoingBack campaign (June 2020) was acquitted by a Zurich district judge on August 30, 2022. The judge was of the opinion that the traffic disruption caused by the three-hour occupation of the Quaibrücke did not justify the infringement on the defendant’s freedoms of expression and assembly. A judgment that, if final, could also apply to hundreds of other people charged or convicted of similar incidents.
If we win these cases (which we do not doubt, but it could take a few years) and/or if we collect more donations than necessary, the fund created will enable us to request the revision of penal orders and/or support further cases in Switzerland. The ultimate goal is to ensure that noone participating in a peaceful assembly can ever again be convicted for exercising his or her rights.
We encourage you to share this call with others and tell your stories. Not only will you help us raise money, but you will also have the opportunity to speak again about the climate and biodiversity, as well as about the (in)action of our government, which even goes so far as to forbid us to defend it.
Thanks in advance!
With Love and Rage,
Petit Phare (XR Geneva) and the legal support team