We are calling for international solidarity actions on June 20-22 for Marco Camenisch who has been continuously incarcerated in Italy and Switzerland since 1991. Marco is an unrepentant green-anarchist revolutionary who has a history of political activism dating back to the 1970s. He was first detained in Switzerland in 1980 for sabotaging an electricity pylon and a power station but managed to escape from custody in 1981. After years on the run he was arrested in 1991 in Italy at a security checkpoint. He remained imprisoned in Italy until 2002. He was convicted among other things for militant direct actions against high voltage power lines. After finishing his sentence in Italy he was then extradited to Switzerland to finish the remainder of his original sentence. He was also convicted and sentenced for the murder of a Swiss border guard in 2002. Marco has repeatedly maintained his innocence of this charge.
Over the past 24 years Marco has kept his political identity. He corresponds with many people around the world, participates in political initiatives and supports the revolutionary process both inside and outside prison. The authorities who are responsible for the decisions relating to Marco’s imprisonment refuse to relax the conditions of his incarceration. Again and again they refuse any steps that would pave the way for his freedom by saying that he represents an ‘ideology that promotes delinquency.’ This argument is constantly repeated by the Zurich Office of Corrections to the courts whenever a decision is required for his case. In other words they will not release him because he is still a left-wing anarchist.
One factor in the debate surrounding Marco is definitely his political identity. The bourgeois state use long term prisoners in struggle like Marco as an example to deter others from political struggle in the same way that they use long term prisoners like Mumia Abu Jamal and Georges Ibrahim Abdallah – they refuse to release them because of their political identities.
There is however another factor relating specifically to Marco’s case and that is the increasing role that forensic psychiatry plays in prisons. While the arguments for denying the release of other long term prisoners are clearly political (the case of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah for example), the Office of Corrections is now dressing the political attack against Marco with psychiatric terms. One thing is clear: A political identity is not something that can be negotiated psychiatrically. Being an anarchist is not a psychological problem!
In the most recent development in Marco’s case, the High Court of Switzerland ordered the Office of Corrections to assess whether any relaxations of the terms of Marco’s incarceration were possible. A major part of this assessment was a ‘risk-oriented sanctions enforcement report’ (ROS) that was conducted by a team of psychiatrists headed by Frank Urbaniok, further evidence of the huge role psychiatry now plays in prisons. As Marco rejects the psychiatric diagnosis of his political identity the ‘experts’ pronounced that it is too much of a risk to ease restrictions of his incarceration or to recommend him for parole.
The report states that because Marco still has firmly held political convictions and is still in regular contact with comrades and supporters outside prison that it was too much of a risk to ease his terms of incarceration or to recommend him for release. The report basically states that the only way Marco will be considered for release will be if he made a complete break from his comrades and support network and if he renounces his political ideology and repents for his past activities.
Marco’s parole date of 2018 is fast approaching. Until then a review will be conducted each year by the Office of Corrections and it’s psychiatrists to assess his possibility of parole. It is extremely likely that unless Marcos renounces his political identity that he will continue to be denied again and again.
We think that is important now more than ever to act in solidarity with Marco! Using diversity of tactics we can combine our struggle on the outside with Marco’s struggle inside!
INTERNATIONAL DAYS OF ACTION FOR MARCO CAMENISCH JUNE 20-22, 2015