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Democracy for the advanced, Part VI, Chapter 2
Zurich supreme court
imposes imprisonment
- for satirical video!
Zurich, December 7th 1996
Dear friends of bad taste 

 What became apparent already last month, will become lawful this week: Guilty is, who as a Swiss citizen lives in Switzerland and nevertheless is not rich, but earns below the subsistence level. Dissident artists have to be sent to prison, the penal system with probation is to deny. 

 Also renewed protests of the American National Campaign for Freedom of Expression (NCFE) and the Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (NGBK=New Society for the Fine Arts) Berlin couldn't make the supreme country court of Zürich change their minds about following the petition of state prosecutor Dr. Hohl and sentencing one of the authors of BLUTGEIL to 33 days of imprisonment without probation because of inability to pay. 

 The III. criminal justice chamber (OR Dr. Schmid, OR Dr. Martin, OR Dr. Hotz) considered themselves not too good to give the gist of the matter, that if the already sentenced prosecuted artist would have been "good willing", he could have given up his cultural activities for working fulltime for money (or at least for producing commercially profitable art). Therefore he is "guilty" and "to blame for the conviction himself" (verdict p. 4). 

 Unpleasant memories wake up - not only of the trial before supreme country court in the matter of BLUTGEIL last year, when district attorney Dr. Hohl and the I. criminal justice chamber demanded without batting an eyelid: "Culture must be positive!" The consequence: BLUTGEIL was qualified as a "piece of art fundamentally harmful" and "unworthy of being protected" (verdict p. 21) and therefore was officially forbidden & burned. State's attorney Dr. Hohl in a letter to NGBK Berlin characteristically emphasizing afterwards on his own behalf: "Please pay attention, that the questionable sentence was issued by supreme court judges being elected following democratic rules and belonging to different parties. The legitimation of the supreme court judges therefore is above all suspicion." 

 The again criminalised artist, just returned from a successful spoken word tour in Germany (16 shows in 17 days), laconically states: 

 "We're living in a free country. Already my first book publication immediately ended up at the political police in 1983. The same book was confiscated in 1993, again by the political police. The concerning civil servants considered themselves not too stupid to confiscate at the same time also all our other publications (books, records, movies, comics a.s.o.) plus the Swiss movie "Berner Beben" plus Frank Zappas movie "200 Motels" a.s.o. The chairman of the Zurich police and the government expressly cover such proceedings. The police investigate against us, because we f.e. organized art exhibitions in 1985 or sent around demotapes of our band in 1989. In 1995 one of our films was officially burned. Since April 1996 our music is officially forbidden in Switzerland. And in 1997 I will have to go to prison for art. We're living in a free country!" 

And by the way: In a trial concearning another case, the Zurich district court ruled once again, on Wednesday, December 4th 1996, two copies of BLUTGEIL seized in a shop in 1995 to be burned. 

with kindest regards    Seelenlos         Ärger 
SSI english   The BLUTGEIL Case    Video-Burning!    Prison for satirical Video!