Three trials on the so-called “ban on flags” will soon be reopened in Bavaria. The political agenda: Criminalization of the people’s movement Revolutionary Syriacs.
The speaker of the people’s council of the Syriacs in Europe, Sami Grigo Baydar, stood already July2022 before the regional court Augsburg. The 31-year-old journalist, author and theologian in the Syriac Orthodox Church had been sentenced in the first instance due to a Facebook post to a fine of 3600 euros, divided into 90 daily sentences of 40 euros each. Baydar and his lawyer Mathes Breuer have appealed against this sentence. Various left-wing organizations from Bavaria showed solidarity with Baydar and were present as trial observers. Right at the beginning of the trial, a trial statement was delivered in which all accusations against Baydar were rejected. After almost 3 hours of trial, the judge of the Augsburg Regional Court acquitted Sami Baydar on all charges in his verdict.
Now the public prosecutor’s office Augsburg accuses the left Syriac activists to have offended against the association law as well as because of the use of marks of unconstitutional and terrorist organizations and against the Bavarian assembly law. Also affected by this so-called “flag ban” is the 64-year-old father of Sami and Revolutionary-Syriacs activist, Corc Massiko Baydar.
Sami and Corc Baydar have been under repression by Bavarian and German authorities for years. Their solidarity work for the Syriacs (Arameans, Assyrians, Chaldeans) in Turkey and in Europe, as well as with left-wing activists, artists such as Grup Yorum and the lawyers of the people in Turkey, some of whom are also being persecuted here in Germany in close cooperation with the fascist AKP government, have brought them numerous criminal proceedings.
- On December 15, 2022, Corc Baydar has received a letter from the police headquarters of Swabia North. In the letter, he is informed that a “police observation” was made against him from 05.08.2020 to 05.08.2021 in order to “avert dangers to public safety and order.”
- On January 11, 2023, Corc Baydar has received a penalty order from the Augsburg Public Prosecutor’s Office with a fine of 5,600.00 euros distributed, on 140 daily rates.
- On January 12, 2023, Sami Baydar has received a fine for the violation of the Bavarian Assembly Act from the Augsburg Public Prosecutor’s Office with a fine of 150.00 euros. Specifically, Sami Baydar is accused in it that he carried the flag of the Soviet Union at a rally in Augsburg on May 09,2022, on the anniversary of the victory of the socialist Soviet Union against Hitler’s fascism.
- On January 17, 2023, an operational inspection was carried out at Sami Baydar’s kiosk by the city of Augsburg.
- On January 18, 2023, Sami Baydar received a penalty order from the Augsburg Public Prosecutor’sOffice with a fine of 10,800.00 euros distributed over 180 daily sentences.
The public prosecutor’s office Augsburg claims that the emblems of the People’s Council of the Syriacs in Europe, International Council of the Syriacs, Communist Syriacs of Mesopotamia and simple pictures in the combination star, hammer and sickle are symbols which are “confusingly similar” to the Marxist-Leninist DHKP-C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front), which is banned in the USA, EU and Turkey, and are therefore also banned.
The People’s Council of Syriacs in Europe criticizes the Bavarian judiciary for the diffuse legal situation in dealing with Syriac emblems and flags. It restricts numerous people in their freedom of opinion and assembly. Although these emblems and flags Yellow Star, Hammer and Sickle on Red Ground is the universal symbol of the socialist or communist movement and is actually legal, the display of the flag can, depending on the situation and the local police authority responsible, be construed as criminal advertising for a banned association. This practice, which borders on arbitrariness, is completely unacceptable from the point of view of the rule of law.
It is in no way compatible with the principle of certainty in criminal law when local investigating authorities decide on a case-by-case basis whether the display of the emblems and flags of the People’s Council of Syriacs in Europe, International Council of the Syriacs and Communist Syriacs of Mesopotamia, which is in itself legal, is prohibited in the specific situation. This questionable handling exists with numerous marks of completely legal Syriac organizations like with the showing of the Syriac flags in Augsburg or Duesseldorf which was evaluated by the police as alleged offence against the association law. Not only organizations, but a whole people is criminalized thereby.
The scandal around allegedly forbidden flags of the Syriac is unfortunately nothing new in Bavaria. Already more than a dozen court cases were led over all instances because of the flag of the Communist Syriacs of Mesopotamia. Also here again and again by the Bavarian justice it was maintained the flag of the DHKP-C. Now this case is before the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe because of a constitutional complaint.
The Federal Ministry of the Interior must – for example through circular letters to the states – finally ensure clarity, so that the criminalization of Syriac symbols and the accompanying restriction of the freedom of assembly and expression is ended.
Both Sami and Corc Baydar have filed appeals against the penalty orders. Sami and Corc Baydar will not submit to intimidation and reprisals. They will continue the struggle against imperialism, fascism and capitalism, for independence, democracy and socialism.