Archive for Januar, 2012

Info-Service

Posted on: Januar 31st, 2012 by Denhart von Harling

Dates of the Exhibition

27.4. – 1.7.2012

Opening Hours

Tuesday to Sunday: noon – 8 pm

Closed on Mondays except on 30.4., 28.5., and 11.6.2012

 

During holidays the exhibition is open during the regular opening hours.

Opening

26.4.2012, 7 – 10 pm

Admission

The admission to the 7th Berlin Biennale is free.

 

Art Education

Guided tours are organized by art:berlin. art:berlin has been organizing guided tours on art, culture and architecture since the mid-1990s and this is the fourth time that art:berlin is in charge of the guided tours of the Berlin Biennale. From April 27 - July 1, 2012 three public guided tour and one meeting will take place every week. In addition individual guided tours can also be arranged.

 

Guided tours for groups and school classes

 

Public guided tours

 

Contact

art:berlin

Kurfürstenstraße 14, 10785 Berlin

T: 0049 (0)30 - 28 09 63 - 90, F: 0049 (0)30 - 28 09 63 - 91

info@artberlin-online.de, www.artberlin-online.de

 

 

Group visits

Groups of more than 20 people should contact us in advance: visit@berlinbiennale.de or phone: 0049 (0)30 - 24 34 59 - 55.

 

Please note that groups which bring their own guide have to register at art:berlin, info@artberlin-online.de or phone: 0049 (0)30 - 28 09 63 - 90, and need to pay a license fee of 25 Euro (max. 20 persons incl. guide).

Accommodation

Due to the high number of visitors expected for the opening of the Berlin Biennale, we kindly advise you to book your accommodation early.

 

The following hotels offer call-in allotments especially for visitors of the Berlin Biennale that are hold ready in most cases until the end of March 2012.

 

High End Hotels (150 Euro and above)

Mid Range Hotels (80 Euro and above)

Budget Hotels and Hostels

 

We would kindly ask you to mention the keyword when you reserve.

Who abolishes it? – The freedom of thought?

Posted on: Januar 26th, 2012 by Denhart von Harling

Who abolishes it? – The freedom of thought?

On the debate around the campaign “Germany abolishes it“ by Martin Zet as part of the 7th Berlin Biennale 2012.

Statement by Katharina Kaiser, Independent curator, until 2011 director of the Haus am Kleistpark Berlin

The heated public discussion has not yet reached where Martin Zet’s artistic campaign began– with the power of a title composed of complex, interventionist language-art!

 

Of course also my personal spontaneous reaction to the campaign’s title, which I obviously shared with many other people, was: “I hope the artist won’t destroy the book.” My second thought went: “Why do I spontaneously assume that this Czech artist intends to destroy or even burn any books? Has he said anything like this?”

No, he didn’t.

What is happening in the minds of curators, directors and art organizers that they hasten to publicly revoke their previously confirmed support of this project while expressing their indignation?  And likewise, what leads newspapers and cultural programs to proclaim a scandal?

 

Back to the beginning:

What would have happened if the artist had called his projects “R e t u r n e d“? What would we have associated with this title?

Perhaps we imagine he would send Tilo Sarrazin five book packages a day, making Sarrazin continuously go to the post office to pick up and carry home his “hefty” social Darwinistic theses… or perhaps the artist would use the books to erect a large cone in front of the SPD-headquarter so that the comrades are really, for once going to read those racist theses and re-think whether someone who thinks like this should really remain a member of their party.

But the artist has called his work “Germany abolishes it.” Which means he has only minimally changed Sarrazin’s supremacy-jargon – and immediately (and rightly so) we associate something barbaric.

 

But the debate has yet to ask: how barbaric is Sarrazin’s language already in the mere title? And how barbaric is the book’s content?

No one asks either why the artist is using Sarrazin’s own language as a means of provocation? Or put differently: does the – known – artistic strategy of “critique through affirmation” work in this particular case?

These kind of questions are not being asked. No one revolts against Sarrazin’s language. The agitation, the presumed scandal, is directed solely towards the artist as the potential agent. It is towards him that we imply (on the basis of the thoughts and associations in the minds of those who read or hear his title) a “deliberate intention” – to consciously choose a legal term – in order for us to be able to revoke the originally granted support.

 

Already before the artistic campaign has ever really begun there is the urge to prevent the mere association called forth by the title. In effect, this means to limit the freedom of thought and of free association but also the freedom of art and that which the individual artist does –And this is done by the very people who pretend to protect the freedom of those that disagree with Sarrazin.

 

How can this public agitation over a free association provoked by an artist be explained?

The answer is contained within the very sentence that caused the agitation:

“Germany abolishes IT.” What could this IT be? In combination with “Germany” as the subject of this sentence the IT that ought to be abolished could be the collective unconscious, not a concrete book.

But as little as one can force a democratic way of thinking, one can abolish a way of thinking that is racist or prohibitive towards everything that is foreign. The latter however is already contained within the imperial gesture with which Germany is being used as the sentence’s subject and which immediately lends the IT a nationalist tone. This is the same kind of language, which for instance the party uses that calls itself “Pro Deutschland” and that was one the first organizations (alongside the NPD) to broadly criticize Martin Zet’s artistic project on their website. They go as far as to mount a distorted quote by Zet above a photo of Goebbels.

(http://www.pro-berlin.net/?p=4078)

 

The question remains:

Is one permitted to recycle books in the way the artist hinted at after the initial reactions? Even though the question could be related to the context of digital culture, I would still like to focus on the analog world: For instance what about the huge amounts of books that were trashed at the end of the GDR (among them many international classics or poetry)? What about the public libraries that without further ado dispose of all books that have lost their “timeliness” – started with the Nazi-books immediately after WW2? What happens with old text books? What do you do with your own books when you no longer exist and no one else wants to carry crates of books? Or do books become a fetish, more important than their actual content–as the artist has asked in an interview? (http://www.rbb-online.de/stilbruch/archiv/stilbruch_vom_19_01/die_sarrazin_installation.html)

 

A complex debate, instigated by a conceptual art project:

My interlocutor says: “You are implying that the artist thinks in such a complex way. But perhaps that’s not at all the case.” And I respond: “You are implying that the artist thinks barbarically, according to your own association, but that’s not at all the case.” A project that instigates such a discussion is already successful, independently from whether the artist originally intended it or not. Art is always also created in the mind of the viewer/reader.

 

So even before Martin Zet will have created an installation from the perhaps 100 or 600 donated books of the 1.3 million sold copies we ask ourselves: How many bound books will remain in one million households that will eventually be inherited to the next generation? How many more will be added through the new pocket book edition? How many hundreds will end up in the bin, for indifference or because people don’t want to “preserve” this openly racist book on their bookshelves? How many copies are inevitably going to be burnt or recycled at the dump together with the other trash?

 

Once Martin Zet will have stacked the consciously donated books in whatever shape as part of the 7th Berlin Biennale and hopefully all the articles, statements, emails, pamphlets (and also threats by neo-nazis and “civic” comments by “Pro Deutschland” and the NPD) will be displayed, this artwork will ask one additional question:

How many German cultural institutions and Kunstvereine in this particular case supported the freedom of art?

Who abolishes it? The freedom of thought and free association? In Germany and elsewhere?

 

23.01.2012

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Statement by Stéphane Bauer, Director, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien

Posted on: Januar 20th, 2012 by Denhart von Harling

Statement by Stéphane Bauer, Director, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien

Or why Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien will continue to be a collecting point for the campaign “Deutschland schafft es ab” (Germany gets rid of it), a project by Martin Zet in the context of the 7th Berlin Biennale.

On request of the organizers of the Berlin Biennale, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien agreed before the start of the campaign to collect dropped-off books and hand them over to the Berlin Biennale. Immediately after publishing our call and being indicated by the press as a location that accepts the books, we were met with both hostile but also enthusiastic and endorsing reactions. Regardless of fierce and polarizing criticism and protest that emerged from the public, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien will continue to act as a collecting point.

 

In critical solidarity with the Berlin Biennale, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien seeks to contribute something in order to allow for the active and productive continuation of the debates that the 7th Berlin Biennale has already initiated and those that will continue to arise.

 

Artur Żmijewski, who was selected and confirmed by the selection committee and the advisory board of the Berlin Biennale as the curator, aims at letting art interact with reality. He asks for the manipulative potential of artists and for an art which – instead of taking up a representing role – intervenes directly and effectively in order to performatively transform reality. (Cf. Interview with Artur Żmijewski by Joanna Warsza on the Berlin Biennale website)

 

With his radical and provocative institutional critique Artur Żmijewski will question familiar approaches and strategies, thus challenging not only the public but also the legitimizing structures of institutions and cultural centers. The projects he has invited will ask questions such as: what is Art allowed to do? where are the limits of artistic actions? when is “good taste” violated? what still counts as Art? and what are institutions allowed to permit and support…? Questions such as these carry with them the conceptual and practical broadening of the notion of art, and they have rarely been permitted in such a provocative way as Artur Żmijewski is currently pushing it.

 

It is important to us that such questions – and thus Art itself – are being negotiated. The negotiating process around Martin Zet’s campaign belongs to this discussion. It is a discussion that has to be carried out publicly – and one of its public spaces is Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien.

 

Even though we understand many of the concerns that were expressed against Martin Zet’s campaign we cannot understand the fierceness of this criticism nor the polemics against him.

 

Martin Zet does not call for a burning of books! However, he certainly intends that his campaign calls for such associations, revealing nearly reflex responses. In fact he merely wants to use the collected books to create an installation with the participation of the visitors of the Berlin Biennale. He has himself, along with many other artists, previously made and exhibited installations with books.

 

The particularity of his project arises from choosing Thilo Sarrazin’s book Deutschland schafft sich ab (Germany abolishes itself) and immanently evoking the potential elimination of Sarrazin’s ideas.

 

Martin Zet exposes the contradictory and hysteric helplessness with which the public has reacted to Thilo Sarrazin’s deeply racist utterances and theses or, for instance, to the existence and crimes of the so-called “Zwickau terrorist cell”: Unfortunately Germany is again and again caught up by its racist and right-wing past and therefore cannot simply “eliminate” its history. Already now Martin Zet’s campaign shows that this racism could fill a whole real space at the Berlin Biennale and that it repeatedly does fill and define the realm of society. The reactions and criticism in response to the project show that we still react with reflexes and are nearly panicking when someone acts with the concepts of “books”, “recycling” and “collecting”.

 

The news and reactions to Martin Zet are characterised by a virulence and directiness missing in the criticism of Thilo Sarrazin’s theses and other racist processes in Germany.

 

This is why we will continue to act as a collecting point. We are curious about how many copies will really be dropped off. One week into the campaign – and in spite of intense media coverage – we have so far received only a single book. Perhaps this is the most obvious proof that in practice this campaign does not work and that art encounters a dilemma as soon as it wants to interact with reality…

 

At the same time the debates that have already emerged and those that are still to come show us that it is important to make such discussions possible by supporting them… and that artistic actions at least do fill and open up a social space, which reveals helplessness, contradictions, hysteria and virulence… If nothing else it is up to the curator and his curators of the 7th Berlin Biennale to actively engage in this discussion pushing it and its quality. We are on board!

 

Berlin, January 17, 2012

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Statement by Artur Żmijewski

Posted on: Januar 17th, 2012 by Denhart von Harling 1 Comment

Statement by Artur Żmijewski

The campaign by Czech artist Martin Zet to collect as many copies of Thilo Sarrazin’s book Deutschland schafft sich ab (Germany Does Away With Itself) as possible has begun. Now Sarrazin’s ideas have received a really direct answer. In confrontation with his hate speech, which is cloaked in rational formulas and statistics, Zet has proposed to materially remove the books from our shelves and to transform it—first into art installation, and later, when the Biennale is finished, into something else. The decision as to how the books will be used will be taken collectively by the public opinion, as Zet promised. My own proposal would be to send the books back to the publishing house, which has just printed a new paperback edition. Apparently the 1.3 million copies already sold were not enough, and now we have a second edition in bookstores all over the country. Sarrazin’s doubtful ideas seem to be big business; the total cover price of all books sold so far is around 30 million Euro.

 

Other people will have other fantasies about what we could do with the books.

 

The book itself, as a pile of paper, is innocent—but it is used by Sarrazin to transfer his message. The project by Zet, "Deutschland schafft es ab" (Germany gets rid of it) is about working with the book as material object, which gives us the opportunity to operate in reality, not only to be stuck on the level of speculation and weak criticism. The voting has started—the similarity to election campaigns is obvious—focusing on the people and their choices. Shouldn't we rather engage with Zet’s proposal than those of Sarrazin? It's better to think that the specific content of the book is not useful, than to think—as Sarrazin does—that some people are not useful.

 

We are together with others in the cultural field—the Berlin Biennale has friends—and other cultural institutions who have decided to take part in the campaign, as well as private and individual collecting points that contribute to the collection drive. We also have a big storage space here at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, so copies of the book can be sent directly here by regular mail.

 

The media reaction to Zet’s proposal created a surprising atmosphere in which people started to be afraid of joining his pro-tolerant campaign.

 

It's not a game—to be a serious participant of Zet’s action, I also have to take my Sarrazin down from the shelf and donate it to the campaign. I will do it right now with my own copy.

 

Artur Żmijewski

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Comment by Chantal Mouffe

Posted on: Januar 17th, 2012 by Denhart von Harling

Comment by Chantal Mouffe

I think Martin Zet’s project is a legitimate initiative. He is curious to know what is the opinion of those who bought the book. Asking them to donate it is to give them the possibility express that they disagree with its content. The artist has a right to do it and it is a democratic act. What should be avoided is to have only moral denunciation of the book without a serious discussion. I see this art project as a way to give an answer to Thilo Sarazzin in visual terms and as a proposal for an agonistic discussion. I find problematic that a lot of people just dismiss the book without asking what it touches in the German public? What makes it such a bestseller? If there is very little response to Zet’s call, does it mean that the book is treated very seriously by the readers? It will be interesting to see what happens. We should also wonder why some people see flames in the call for collection of second-hand books? What the first reactions to this project tell us about the psyche of the German society at the moment? I would never have though about burning the books seeing the recycling sign. It rather suggests reusing it to publish something different. It recalls a strategy of situationist detournement. To see flames has more to do with the German psyche than with the actual meaning of the project Martin Zet plays on affects. People on the left very often ignore the role of affects. In contemporary politics unfortunately only right-wing populist parties try to mobilise citizens through emotions. Why shouldn’t the left also address them? Affects and passions are very important driving force in politics and they can also be mobilized in a progressive way. There can be a passion for equality and there can be a passion for justice. This should be an important field of intervention for critical artistic practices.

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“Deutschland schafft es ab” (Germany gets rid of it) – book collection campaign

Posted on: Januar 12th, 2012 by Denhart von Harling 4 Comments

“Deutschland schafft es ab” (Germany gets rid of it)

book collection campaign By Martin zet

With over 1.3 million copies sold Deutschland schafft sich ab (Germany gets rid of itself) by Thilo Sarrazin is the most successful political non-fiction publication of a German author of the post-war period. The Czech artist Martin Zet now starts the campaign “Deutschland schafft es ab” (Germany gets rid of it) in the framework of the 7th Berlin Biennale. He calls to collect as many copies of the book as possible in order to get rid of them. “From a certain moment it is not important what the quality or real intention of the book is, but rather how it effects the German society. The book woke up and fed the anti-immigrant and mainly anti-Turkish tendencies in this country. I suggest using the book as an instrument enabling people to privately manifest their personal position,” Martin Zet states. The artist calls to collect at least 60,000 copies, which is in fact less than 5 percent of the total edition. The books will be shown in an installation at the 7th Berlin Biennale; after the exhibition they will be recycled for a good purpose.

Please deliver your copy in one of the participating delivery points or send it to us via regular mail and let it become part of the installation.

 

The first delivery point is opened on January 12, 2012 at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Auguststraße 69, 10117 Berlin-Mitte (accessible every day from 10 am to 8 pm).

 

Further delivery points in Berlin are:

- Alte Möbelfabrik | Karlstraße 12 | Köpenick

- Buchhandlung Pro qm | Almstadtstraße 48–50 | Mitte

- C/O Berlin | Postfuhramt | Oranienburger Straße 35/36 | Mitte

- DOCK 11 | Kastanienallee 79 | Prenzlauer Berg

- F&F-Reisen – im Havemann-Center | Flämingstraße 122 | Marzahn-Hellersdorf

- GRIPS Theater | Altonaer Straße 22 | Mitte

- Hebbel am Ufer – HAU 2 | Hallesches Ufer 32 | Kreuzberg

- Kosmetiksalon Babette | Karl-Marx-Allee 36 | Mitte

- Kunstraum Kreuzberg / Bethanien | Mariannenplatz 2 | Kreuzberg

- Kulturnetzwerk Neukölln e.V. | Karl-Marx-Straße 131 | Neukölln

- Schlossplatztheater | Alt-Köpenick 31 | Köpenick

- Theater an der Parkaue | Parkaue 29 | Lichtenberg

 

Delivery points throughout Germany:

- dieschönestadt | Am Steintor 19 | 06112 Halle an der Saale

- Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig | Karl-Tauchnitz-Straße 9–11 | 04107 Leipzig

- Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV) | im Dortmunder U | Leonie-Reygers-Terrasse | 44137 Dortmund

- Kay Volbehr | Georg-Büchner-Straße 20 | 18055 Rostock (from 6 pm)

- Kunstbau der Städtischen Galerie im Lenbachhaus | Königsplatz / U-Bahn-Zwischengeschoss | 80333 München

- Kunsthalle Düsseldorf | Grabbeplatz 4 | 40213 Düsseldorf

- Kunsthaus Erfurt | Michaelisstraße 34 | 99084 Erfurt

- Kunstverein in Hamburg | Klosterwall 23 | 20095 Hamburg

- Kunstverein Leipzig | Kolonnadenstr. 6 | 04109 Leipzig

 

Join us in the campaign and install a collection point for your area! We will take care of transporting the books to Berlin.

Please spread this information via your personal channels.

 

Posters of the action can be downloaded here:

Printable file DIN-A-4

Printable file DIN-A-3

Printable file DIN-A-2

Printable file DIN-A-1

 

We need your help and support to collectively make this project possible.

 

The comments on our website will be open for your personal opinion about the book and its content.

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Comments

Daniel Miller in conversation with Martin Zet

Martin, was it ever your plan to burn these books? More >
Daniel Miller in conversation with Martin Zet

Statement by Axel Wieder, Pro qm

The first time I heard about Martin Zet’s project was when a staff member of the Berlin Biennale asked me whether I thought this idea could be realized. More >
Statement by Axel Wieder, Pro qm

Who abolishes it? – The freedom of thought?

On the debate around the campaign “Germany abolishes it“ by Martin Zet as part of the 7th Berlin Biennale 2012. Statement by Katharina Kaiser More >
Who abolishes it? – The freedom of thought?

Flames in their Heads

by Igor Stokfiszewski More >
Flames in their Heads

Statement by Stéphane Bauer, Director, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien

Or why Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien will continue to be a collecting point for the campaign “Deutschland schafft es ab” (Germany gets rid of it), a project by Martin Zet in... More >
Statement by Stéphane Bauer, Director, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien

Statement by Artur Żmijewski

The campaign by Czech artist Martin Zet to collect as many copies of Thilo Sarrazin’s book »Deutschland schafft sich ab« (Germany Does Away With Itself) as possible has begun. More >
Statement by Artur Żmijewski

A Call from Egypt

Posted on: Januar 6th, 2012 by Denhart von Harling 1 Comment

A Call from Egypt

The 7th Berlin Biennale supports this call that reached us via artist Ganzeer:

This is an appeal to help save lives. The Egyptian Military Council has unleashed a brutal crackdown on peaceful protests by the Egyptian people, calling for the resignation of the military council and a cancellation of the sham elections that they’ve been running under their supervision. Soldiers have shown us no mercy, hitting fallen women with their batons, stomping on skulls with their boots, and shooting unarmed civilians dead. I’ve seen this happen with my own eyes and was unable to stop it. It’s a soul-shattering pain like no other.

 

The lies being disseminated by military-controlled media are as equally painful. Nothing hurts more than such shameless injustice. I fear the military’s strategy will only lead my country to an armed civil war. In an effort to keep our struggle peaceful, I hear by call on artists everywhere to support the Egyptian revolution with their art. As the genius that is Alan Moore once said, “[a satire] destroys you in the eyes of your community, it shows you up as ridiculous, lame, pathetic, worthless, in the eyes of your community, in the eyes of your family, in the eyes of your children, in the eyes of yourself, and if it's a particularly good bard, and he's written a particularly good satire, then three hundred years after you're dead, people are still gonna be laughing."

 

Our only hope right now is to destroy the military council using the weapon of art. From January 13 to 25, the streets of Egypt will see an explosion of anti-military street-art. If you are a street artist elsewhere in the world, please do what you can in your city to help us. Even if you are not a street-artist. If you’re a comic book artist, a musician, or filmmaker, whatever artistic talent you have can be of big help. If you can do something before the designated date, please do! We need all the help we can get.

 

Finding “inspiration” is not at all difficult. A quick visit to scaf-crimes.blogspot.com will do the trick. On behalf of Egypt’s street-art community, allow me to thank anybody in the world willing to help. Your art may very well save lives.

 

Ganzeer, Cairo

 

Not exactly a graphic designer, nor a product designer, Ganzeer is not particularly a street-artist or comic book artist, nor is he an installation artist, writer, speaker, or video-maker. But he’s had the chance to assume one of those roles at different periods of time and in different locations around the world, while remaining tight to his hometown of Cairo, Egypt. More info is available at www.ganzeer.com

 

An excerpt from an E-Mail by Ganzeer:

I've seen soldiers kill people in the movies. I've even seen them do it on the news. I never thought the day would come when I would see it in person. Those fellow Egyptians who haven't had the luxury of seeing these atrocities first hand are incredibly skeptical. They can't help but ask "why now?"

 

We're in a very critical point in our revolution right now. The point where military command has–after over 9 months of work—managed to alter the consciousness of officers enough to get them to attack their own people, arguing that "they're not the same revolution crowd." The argument has even managed to influence many within Egypt's society, bent on believing that the military has the people's best interest in mind, just because Mubarak is allegedly out of the picture.

 

People also can no longer afford to revolt, or stage a sit-in for months on end. The military's strategies since this whole revolution started have been a series of multiple blows at the livelihoods of Egyptians. If I'm finding it difficult to pay my own rent, I can only imagine what it must be like for those in positions less fortunate than mine.

 

They're frightening the Egyptian people. They're frightening them with the economy, with the Islamists, and with "hidden foreign interests." They went to force us into submission so things remain unchanged. These strategies may have worked on the Egyptians back in 1952. But today things are different. Our knowledge and understanding of the world is heightened and many of us will not go down without a fight.

 

We're being pushed into the direction of a civil war. A Syrian version of the revolution doesn't seem too far-fetched for Egypt anymore. I feel our last line of peaceful defense is art. Powerful art. From January 13 to 25, together with the help of other Egyptian artists and activists, we will raid the streets of Cairo with critical street-art like no other. We will use our knowledge of the arts to lay a curse on Egypt's military council, destroying them in the eyes of the community, the eyes of their families, and the eyes of themselves. I feel the more the art, the more powerful the curse. Let international artists unite for this cause. If artists everywhere do something in their town, in their city to criticize the Egyptian Military Council, raising global awareness on the matter ... I'm hoping some military men within the ranks will want to distance themselves from such a curse ... and will be inspired enough to arrest Egypt's Military council, freeing the Egyptian people from their tyranny. Let's curse theme ... and show the world what we can do without weapons.

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The long death of Taisiya Osipova

Posted on: Januar 3rd, 2012 by Denhart von Harling

The long death of Taisiya Osipova

Another friend of Voina sentenced to 10 years of prison

On December 29th, 2011, after having waited 13 months in prison in Smolensk expecting a sentence, Taisiya Osipova, a 27 years old opposition activist, was made to wait another 12 hours in the court building. Then she was sentenced – to 10 years of prison.

 

Taisiya Osipova is a political activist of the oppositional party "Other Russia" and the wife of Sergey Fomchenkov, a member of the executive committee of "Other Russia". They have a five-year old daughter, Katrina.

 

According to reliable sources, the criminal case of Taisiya Osipova has been trumped up and does not contain objective evidence. The sentence was read in the absence of the media and the public, a practice completely contrary to the Russian rule of open trials.

 

Taisiya Osipova was arrested in November 2010 in Smolensk, after the police broke into her house and supposedly discovered suspicious money and five parcels with white powder.

 

Normally, such police break-ins require the presence of neutral witnesses. In this case, the police seems to have selected the witnesses beforehand, making a planting of the evidence possible.

 

Members of the police force openly expressed towards Taisiya Osipova that they were mainly interested in her husband Sergei Fomchenkov. She was given the prospect of avoiding criminal punishment if she would cooperate.

 

Many Human Rights organizations, like the Committee for the Civil Rights and for Human Rights in the Smolensk region, the Committee for Children’s Rights of the Smolensk region, the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia and others, tried to protect Taisiya Osipova by stressing that neither the public nor the prosecutor’s office nor the Commissioner can reliably prove Osipova’s involvement in drug trafficking.

 

The whole charge is based on the testimonies of the witnesses of the break-in. These witnesses are classified as "top secret" and did not appear in court, making it impossible for the defense to disprove their allegations. In addition, the court under Judge Dvoryanchikov ignored a number of proven inconsistencies in the case.

 

Since Taisiya is suffering from a number of serious diseases, like pancreatitis and diabetes, the overly hard sentence means death for her. There was no initiative to transfer her to a prison hospital or to give her a normal medical examination.

 

In addition to the above charges, both Taisia Osipova and her husband Sergei Fomchenkov are being investigated with the aim to remove their parental rights over their daughter Katrina. This removal of parental rights has no legitimate reason and should be perceived as way to put pressure on Fomchenkov in connection with his political activities.

 

Before the trial of December 29th, there have been attempts from human rights organisations all over the world to interfere with the case. Defense attorney Svetlana Sidorkina’s complaint regarding the case of Taisiya Osipova has been accepted by European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The complaint was filed under application number 41366/11 and has been classified as urgent.

 

The World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) in Geneva has demanded a prompt medical examination and treatment for Taisiya Osipova, as well as her release in the absence of valid legal charges.

 

As it turns out now, none of these appeals did help.

 

Further information:

http://en.free-voina.org/post/14763633893

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Taisiya Osipova. Photo: unknown

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