Climate activists found not guilty
The Copenhagen City Court ruled on September 2 that climate activists Natasha Verco, a 32-year-old activist from Australia, and Noah Weiss, a US student, were innocent of the charges against them.
The two climate activists had been charged for organising “illegal activities” during the United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen in December 2009. Verco and Weiss had been accused of planning violence against police, disturbance of public order and vandalism.
The charges could have lead to several years of prison and deportation. But the charges didn’t stand up in court.
The verdict discredits the violent methods adopted by police during the climate summit, when politically active people were denied their democratic right to criticise the climate negotiations.
Verco described the entire process as absurd: “There has been a very clear political purpose behind these court cases .... In the whole case the evidence has been related to fully legal activities, that the police has tried to manipulate in order to make them appear illegal.”
Verco and Weiss said they feel the case should put an end to the police’s undemocratic methods. Weiss said: “I see this as a victory, not only for us, but for legal rights in Denmark.
“And it also means that no longer can the police use manipulation of evidence and lies to repress politically active people.”
About 2000 people were arrested during the climate summit. Many were preventively arrested during the big demonstration for serious action on climate change on December 12. These incidents have been criticised by Amnesty International, among others.
In a joint statement read from the steps of the court after the verdict, Verco and Weiss said: “When deciding to demonstrate against the COP15 in December, we both wanted to shed light on the crisis of climate change, and challenge the elite’s assertion that only they could solve the climate crisis.
“We believe that only people acting together, not corporations or governments, can effectively challenge the systems which have brought about the climate crisis, and bring real solutions which will stop the madness ...
“We were met with severe repression ... We have had our phones tapped and our homes raided. we have had our friends intimidated and our every movement watched. We have been arrested, thrown in jail, interrogated, threatened with deportation, and have had to endure the insecurity of trial ...
“However, do not let the threat of repression keep you from organising demonstrations and from taking action when you see injustice in the world ... the truth is that our power is stronger then their fear. Together we can prevail.”