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Authorities in Denmark arrest leaders of legal Danish political party

21. February 2006

Up to 10 years of prison for having supported PFLP and FARC

authorities on February 20th arrested 4 members of the Danish Left Socialists
Party (Venstresocialisterne, VS), among them several of the party’s leaders, and
presented arrest orders against 3 more members. All 7 seven are accused of violation
of …§114a in the Danish criminal code prohibiting support for foreign terrorist
organizations. This section has a maximum
penalty range of 10 years prison.

VS was
presented in parliament with 4-6 members during 1967-87, and has since been an
integral part of the Danish left-green alliance (Enhedslisten), that is
presently represented in the Danish parliament with 6 members.

Since its
creation in 1967 VS has been working in support of national liberation
movements in the 3. World, having supported the FLN during the Vietnam War, ANC
and SWAPO in southern africa in their fight against the apartheid regime in South
Africa, PFLP in Palestine in its struggle against the Israeli occupation of
Palestine, FMLN in El Salvador, URNG in Guatemala, FSLN in Nicaragua, and many
other national liberation movements in Latin America that have fought against military

6 months
ago the party formed a company, Fighters & Lovers, whose purpose was to
sell T-shirts on the internet in support of the national liberation movements
PFLP in Palestine and FARC in Colombia. Both organizations are on the EU list
of terror organizations, but this list has no legal status in Denmark, and VS
regards both organizations as national liberation movements, not as terror organizations.
Some people nonetheless regard these organizations as terror organizations, just
as the liberation movement in Denmark during the 2. WW was characterized by the
occupying German forces and its Danish collaborators as terrorists. 

The VS
company Fighters & Lovers started selling T-shirts on January 10th 2006, and
the authorities reacted 5 weeks later by arresting 7 members of the party, closing
the company WEB site – in violation of the Danish constitution prohibiting censorship
– confiscating 3.000 Euro, and computer equipment the authorities claim was
used by the company.

The VS
members were released the same day, but the authorities have upheld the charges
of violation of …§114a. “We regard the charges and the closing of our WEB
site as a blatant violation of the Danish constitution and its guarantees for
free speech, against censorship”, states Michael Schoelardt, member of the
national leadership of VS and director of Fighters & Lovers. He continues:
“The Danish prime minister has referred to the “unrecoverable status
of free speech” in his defence of drawings in the Danish newspaper “Jyllandsposten”.
Drawings that have provoked a considerable part of the world population. 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. VS has supported
national liberation struggles around the world for nearly 40 years, and will
continue to do so, even though democracy in Denmark is under fierce attack from
right wing parties these years”, he concludes.

The Danish
authorities during the last 5-10 years have been in a process of limiting the
spaces for democracy in Denmark. Especially for refugees and immigrants. The
present Danish government has been especially active in promoting xenophobia, and
campaigns against primarily Muslim immigrants. These measures have been
critizised by other countries in Europe, the Human Rights Commission of the
European Council, and several UN institutions. VS urges the international
community and especially the international human rights organizations to
monitor the developments in Denmark closely, and especially the ongoing
restrictions on Democracy.

For further


Member of
the national leadership of VS and director of Fighters & Lovers

+(45) 2422 1923 or 6162