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Refugee complaints letter to German Minister President Winfried Kretschmann on Residenzpflicht Persecution in Baden-Württemberg
Refugees Initiative Schwäbisch Gmünd
Isolation Lager for Refugees
Oberbettringer Straße 176
73525 Schwäbisch Gmünd
Minister President Winfried Kretschmann
State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg
Fax : +49 711 2153-340
Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Schwäbisch Gmünd, February 24th 2015
Subject: Persistent repressive prosecution for civil disobedience against the so-called "residence obligation".
Mr. Prime Minister ...
We are refugees and political activists from different countries (Nigeria, Cameroon, Afghanistan) and be forced for several years to live in isolation stock Schwäbisch Gmünd - at least as long as our asylum procedure is still "elaborated on" with the BAMF Karlsruhe.
We would like to inform you about our soon to passing sentences. The Ellwangen prosecution office (Enforcement- and Amnesty Department) summoned us for coercive detention due to fine and charges, imposed after court order by the District Court Schwäbisch Gmünd – despite the supposedly “suspension” of residence obligation matters. We demand for your immediate intervention against the responsible authorities and law enforcement agencies in accordance with the Basic Law Article 17 as to prevent a continuing criminalization, further charges and prosecution due to the abolished “Residenzpflicht” by examining the prison sentences against us and other interested parties to be withdrawn or dropped.
On April 17, 2014, we traveled by train from Schwäbisch Gmünd to Jena as to attend a workshop on self-organized political resistance against state violations of human rights, which was organized by 'The VOICE Refugee Forum'. On our way there we were checked in train by two police officers of the Federal Police on racial criteria. They put us in knowledge on the violation of the so-called "Residency Obligation", but could not provide information on the penalties, as this should be the responsibility of the authorities of the city of Schwäbisch Gmünd.
In June 2014, we received fines imposed by the city of Schwäbisch Gmünd. In this we were asked to pay 103 € and 50 cents each (including fees and expenses). Violations against the then applicable "residence obligation" were quoted, which was exclusively imposed in Germany only. We refuse by principal reasons to make this payment request sequence, as it is a clear violation of our fundamental rights to self-determination, freedom of movement and political activity, according to the Articles 1 (paragraphs 2 and 3), 2, 3 (paragraphs 1 and 3 ) and 19 (paragraph 2) of the Basic Law enshrined constitutionally and also arise by the ratification of the International and European human rights conventions.
We have set out our motivations and a demand to drop the charges in a public letter to the city administration and authorities in Schwäbisch Gmünd (https://de-de.facebook.com/ refugeesinitiative / posts / 633210956792039 – see attachment). The method, however, continued without specific answer. We are continuously given the only choices to either pay penalty for our basic right to freedom of movement or to let it be taken away totally by going to jail, until we might get willing to pay. These may be no alternatives for us.
We now have witnessed the consistent continuation of the process: The constant increase in the charges to be paid up to the prompt in Ellwangen to get back to a three-day coercive detention because we have not paid the penalty yet. But these three days in prison do not count for any settlement of the punishment whatsoever!
We emphasize our position that we cannot acknowledge any law that restricts us in our fundamental rights! In addition, we would like to point out that the corresponding current changes of the Asylum Procedure Act also did not materialize as by the "good will" of the legislature or even "voluntary" political insight, but rather due to manifold, consistent, civil and legal disobedience of activists concerned at all political and legal levels.
Even before the (only partial!) "abolishment of Residenzpflicht" in Germany we have already seen this law as an Apartheid-law to systematically isolate refugees from the German civil society.
We have this in the above-mentioned Published statement that we will not pay for our right to freedom of movement - and by the way cannot even afford. We are very upset that we need to continue to see us exposed to prosecution just because we have made use of our right to freedom of movement.
Especially you, Mr. Kretschmann, who gave your consent to - in your own party highly controversial - "Asylum Law Reform", justifying it explicitly with the "abolition of the Residency Obligation"! Especially in light of the "substantial" justification of your willingness to compromise in the "asylum reform", which was beforehand already announced in the government’s program for the Grand Coalition, it's a shame that people are still being persecuted and criminalized with unrepentant hardness up to coercive detention in your own state, even after the relevant legislative changes have entered into force!
Our decision not to want to pay for our right to freedom of movement for our political beliefs and our human dignity, is a matter of conscience, which is non-negotiable.
How do you position yourself towards your very own decisions, Mr Kretschmann?
We established a list of the responsible authorities (see attachment). These authorities in charge of our administrative prosecution will receive a copy of this letter to you.
Yours undauntedly and freedom-loving
Our Declaration from 21.08.2014: „Die Stadt Schwäbisch Gmünd droht Flüchtlingsaktivisten wegen Residenzpflichtsverletzung mit Haft“
List and contacts of responsible authorities involved