For over two weeks, our friend and collaborator has been in jail in Frankfurt. For days, vague and scarce information have circulated. Now have some certain news about his conditions and charges against him. We will objectively report them, hoping to enhance clarity and provide a service to everyone who’s been concerned about him
[Skip to Italian version]
— translated by Emilia Maria Pezzini
On Wednesday the 18th of March, Federico Annibale has been arrested by the German police in Frankfurt, where he was participating to the protest against troika’s policies taking place in proximity to the newly founded headquarter of the Central European Bank. For days, there has been poor and often contradictory information available, alimenting the anxiety of everyone who loves him.
As we stated in a previous editorial, after talking to Federico’s family who is extremely concerned, dailySTORM has decided to express its solidarity in a firm but at the same time discreet manner. As information about charges against Federico were still not clear, we have attempted not to interfere on an uncertain situation and to abide by his closest relative’s request of calmness and discretion, inviting our readers to do so.
We have now received certain information about his conditions from his family and attorneys. Therefore, after having followed several online campaigns and articles which have sometimes been excessively alarmist, we are finally able to explain the truth about what is happening. Once again, we commit to do so as the newspaper we are, limiting this space to the report of facts and of their implications and problematic consequences. We aim to maintain discretion and as much objectivity as possible. We hope to provide a useful service to those who are concerned about him and contribute to attenuate an atmosphere of increasing tension.
Let’s start from the beginning. On Wednesday the 18th of March, during the protest, Federico Annibale has been detained and arrested without any explanation. As it has been said, at the moment of the arrest he was dealing with a sandwich and he didn’t resist in any way. The reason of his detention is that soon before that the police has seen Federico taking place to one of the numerous clashes between agents and protesters of that day, then recognizing him while he was sitting to have lunch.
The lawyers who are managing Federico’s case have told his parents that some agents who were on the spot during the demonstration have witnessed to have seen him joining a group of protesters throwing objects (stones and bottles) targeting the rows of police forces. The agents deposition, which has a great value under the German jurisdiction, has provided a reason to arrest Federico straight away, rather than putting him under a state of preventive detention which cannot have a duration of more than 24 hours. At the moment, it seems likely that there is no available audiovisual material which can prove any crime or show any damage to agents connected to his acts. However, the charge against him is that of having injured a public officer.
Whit this charge, unfortunately, the German police was legally allowed to arrest Federico rather than just detaining him. Thus, he hasn’t been released with the other 349 protesters who have been initially detained after the clashes with security forces. Moreover, as previously claimed, guaranteeing Federico’s permanence in Frankfurt would have presented a complication in case he had been released. However, we got to know that recently, after deeper investigations and verification, other people who had been detained on that Wednesday have been arrested and charged with accuses. Therefore, Federico is not a singular case as it seemed at the beginning.
At the moment, as confirmed by his parents, Federico is fine, he his calm and he hasn’t expressed any negative opinion about the structure where he is. The extended shortage of information, which has made us all apprehensive and anxious, has been originally connected to the fact that, as an adult, Federico has always been the only interlocutor of the investigators and he was not allowed to have consultations with anyone except for his lawyers. So far, he has only met his attorneys and later his parents, who are in Frankfurt. Since Wednesday the 18th of March he has been in an individual cell and he has asked to be transferred to a cell with other Italians. He has also advanced the request of being able to have phone conversations with his family, which is currently waiting for approval. During recreational moments, he plays football and in the rest of his time he reads and writes; in particular, he has found a copy of Dumas’s The Three Musketeers in Italian and he is probably devouring it right now. Certainly, he will have to spend more days in jail and after his release he will still have to wait for the trial in Frankfurt, under conditions which have still not been precisely defined.
The charge of having injured public officers might make Federico look as an instigator or even a “terrorist” who has participated to a heated protest and has caused remarkable damages to the city and who has traveled to Frankfurt of that 18th of March just to trigger clashes with security forces and actively taking part in it. However, Federico has nothing to do with all of this, overall and in the specific case of the protest in Frankfurt. As an example, there are no evidences of his engagement in any of the existent organized international group bearing these objectives. With his colleagues from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London, where he is studying for a Master in Development Studies, after having obtained a degree in Business and Economics in Rome, Federico went to Germany with the only aim of demonstrating. Not at all intending to organize or aliment any form of urban guerrilla.
The only available picture in which Federico appears, published on a local newspaper from Frankfurt, shows him at the moment of his arrest, open-face and wearing a red jacket, and therefore highly recognizable and lacking any equipment which might suggest he has been involved in any serious, frequent or determinant engagement in the disorders of that day. To be clear: we are not here to say that Federico hasn’t done anything. Neither we want to demonstrate his complete disengagement in the facts of that day. We just want to make clear his non-involvement in any plan and organization in the contest of that protest or of any of the numerous to which he has taken part, without having ever been detained or filed by the police. It is not by chance that he hasn’t had any previous civil, let alone criminal, allegation.
It is certain that, abiding to the German law, Federico’s case has been handled at least drastically – it is worth to say it -, to the extent that it has easily appeared as exaggerated in the light of its real engagement and of its profile. Assessing the general context in which the entire issue has taken place, it has been overburdened by the fact that for days Federico has effectively been the only protested recognized by the agents and thus with a charge against him, while others were waiting for investigations. The accuse has certainly been influenced by the reaction of some media and of the public opinion, in Frankfurt and in the rest of Germany, who have been upset by the remarkable disorders connected to the protest against troika’s policies.
Finally, the most important information, of which we care more about, is that Federico is fine. Yes, we could spend a long time discussing to what extent the treatment and accuse have been exaggerated or not. However, as stated, dailySTORM limits to report the facts which we got to know about and the open issues. Unfortunately – in any way it could be regarded as – there is an accuse, it has some juridic foundation and it is not insignificant. At the moment, we can only acknowledge it and wait for the trial, hoping that it will have a positive outcome and that Federico can overcome it the best way possible. Avoiding the risk of taking advantage of or influencing from the outside such a delicate and complex issue, which has to be resolved as soon as possible without any obstacle so that Federico will be able to be back soon. Because we want him back among us. We repeatedly express our solidarity with him and his family.
We are with you.
Testata giornalistica iscritta al Registro della Stampa del Tribunale di Roma, autorizzazione n. 12 del 15 Gennaio 2013.