DENMARK: Socialists arrested for solidarity

November 17, 1993

Kerryn Williams

On February 20, four members of the Left Socialist party (VS) were arrested and three others had arrest orders issued against them. The activists were accused of violating the section of Denmark's criminal code relating to support for foreign terrorist organisations, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years' jail.

According to a February 21 media release issued by the VS, the party formed a company called Fighters and Lovers that began selling T-shirts over the internet in early January to support the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Both these organisations feature on the European Union's list of terrorist groups.

In addition to the seven arrests, the company's website was shutdown and computer equipment and money confiscated.

The VS — part of the Red-Green Alliance, which currently has six members of parliament — was formed in 1967. Since then the VS has campaigned in solidarity with numerous struggles for national liberation and against oppression in the Third World, including the Vietnamese resistance to the US-led war, the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and the Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua.

"We regard the charges and the closing of our website as a blatant violation of the Danish constitution and its guarantees for free speech, against censorship", Fighters and Lovers director and VS leader Michael Schoelardt said.

He pointed to the Danish prime minister's claims of the irrevocable status of free speech in Denmark, in relation to anti-Muslim cartoons printed in the Jyllandsposten newspaper that sparked global outrage. "But free speech apparently doesn't apply in Denmark when it comes to support for the Palestinian liberation struggle or the struggle in Colombia for freedom and democracy, against the government death squads and repression", Schoelardt said.

Those arrested were released the same day, but the charges have been upheld.

From Green Left Weekly, March 1, 2006.
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