Belgrade Six freed
Our six comrades imprisoned since September last year on trumped-up charges of ‘International Terrorism’ have been freed. The six are all members or associates of Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative (ASI), SolFed’s Serbian sister-section in the International Workers’ Association (IWA).
The acting IWA Secretary, who took up the role when the incumbent was imprisoned as one of the six said “the Serbian state is in full retreat as the case against the Belgrade 6 is falling apart. The six comrades are free and unlikely to be returning to jail as the charges against them are reduced hopefully to something very minor.”
The release of the six comes after an international protest campaign. The six also drew support from prominent Serbian intellectuals who signed an open letter stating “in its essence, the trial against the six young people is a political one. This is why we demand the the withdrawal of this senseless indictment.”
On February 17th the six appeared in court. Hundreds of supporters from Serbia and abroad gathered inside and outside the court and TV cameras from all of Serbia’s major stations were in attendence. Information coming out of the court house was scarce and tensions rose when two Croatian anarcho-syndicalists were arrested for unfurling a banner reading “anarchism is not terrorism.” They now face up to a month’s imprisonment themselves.
However, later in the day a loud cheer was heard within the court and the six walked free on bail. Later in the evening the Belgrade Six were informed that the charges of terrorism would be dropped and replaced with a lesser charge. Needless to say the mood among the family and supporters was euphoric.
Two of the six attended a meeting with supporters following their release while the others went home to rest after their ordeal. At the meeting some disturbing information came to light about treatment the six had received in prison, including coerced ‘confessions.’ The IWA secretary stated:
“The fight is not over, the Belgrade 6 may still face serious charges when they return to court on the 23rd March. We must keep up the pressure on the Serbian state. But the fact that they have been released and the terrorist charges dropped is a massive victory, But the campaign must continue until all charges are dropped and the Serbian state is held accountable for actions.”