Dark times for political opponents, skeptics of dubious science.
Governments weaponizing the justice authorities to go after political opponents and protest movement leaders seems to have become vogue nowadays in the once democratic western hemisphere.
Victims of the tactic often face dubious charges, some even having to spend months in detention as authorities drag their feet carrying out the “legal” process.
German Corona lockdown protest leader Michael Ballweg (left) released from the Stuttgart-Stammheim prison after 9 months detention on dubious charges. Image cropped from AUF 1 here.
For example, in Germany a number of physicians have been charged and even jailed for allegedly issuing “false mask exemptions” or “false vaccination exemption” certificates to patients who fear the experimental, shoddily launched COVID vaccine. Critics accuse the authorities of using these heavy handed tactics to intimidate legitimate political opponents into silence.
Ballweg released after 9 months of detention
One high profile example in Germany is Michael Ballweg, the founder of the Corona restrictions protest movement dubbed “Querdenken” (unorthodox thinking). Today we know that the “querdenkers” were right about a lot of things, and huge amounts of damage could have been avoided had their warnings been taken seriously.
But instead, the government and media got paranoid and scared of the Ballweg’s protest movement. The media characterized the movement as fringe right wingers who threatened “our democracy”. Last June, Ballweg was arrested and dragged to jail on dubious charges.
Today, after more than 9 months detention, he was finally allowed to leave Stuttgart-Stammheim prison. The Stuttgart Higher Regional Court on Tuesday lifted the arrest warrant in exchange for a condition.
Ballweg had been in pre-trial detention since June 2022 on suspicion of money laundering and fraud. Suspicion is all that’s needed nowadays to arrest unwanted voices.
Previously, several appeals against Ballweg’s pre-trial detention had come to nothing. As part of the nine-month trial, he can now leave prison. The reason for the revocation of the arrest warrant was proportionality. The expected punishment in case of a conviction was too small to justify a longer pre-trial detention.
Ballweg’s lawyer Dr. Alexander Christ commented on the decision: “I am happy for my client!”
Allegations reduced, allegations dropped
Last week, the allegations were significantly reduced: for example, parts of the money laundering allegations against Ballweg were dropped. Most recently, Ballweg had only been accused of attempted fraud. The prosecution worked with the daring legal construct of an “unsuccessful attempt”. Nobody had ever been harmed by Ballweg.
Lawyer Dr. Alexander Christ from Ballweg’s legal team appeared in an interview with Austria’s AUF1 last week and reported numerous inconsistencies in the 120-page indictment. For example, money laundering allegations that had already been dropped resurfaced in the indictment. “A tale,” summarized Dr. Christ.”
The release of Ballweg is certainly good news. But leading a protest and speaking up against the government still remains dangerousöy risky today.