German PEN Centre awards Wolfgang Kaleck with Hermann Kesten Medal
13 November 2014 - In recognition of his tenacious and intrepid commitment to the victims of state and non-state violence, the German PEN Centre awarded ECCHR’s founder and General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck this year’s Hermann Kesten Medal. „Thanks to Wolfgang Kaleck’s commitment, human rights violations are finally considered from an international perspective”, said Josef Haslinger, President of the German PEN Centre. The renowned award from the German branch of the international association of writers is named after the former honorary president of the German PEN Centre, Hermann Kesten (1900-1996). The award ceremony was in Darmstadt, Germany. The keynote speech was delivered by Gerhart Baum, the former Secretary of the German Ministry of Interior.Previos laureates of the Hermann Kesten Medal are Günter Grass, Anna Politkowskaja und Liu Xiaobo.
Criminal complaint against German-British software firm Gamma/FinFisher
24 October 2014 – The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and British organization Privacy International have submitted a criminal complaint to prosecution authorities in Munich against employees of German-British firm Gamma. ECCHR and Privacy International have seen files suggesting that Gamma supplied Bahrain with the surveillance software FinFisher and provided technical assistance from Germany. This allowed Bahraini authorities to use the trojan to spy on computers in Germany.
Three Yemenis vs Germany: Survivors of a US drone strike file legal action against German government
15 October 2014 - On 29th August 2012, five rockets fired by US drones struck the village of Khashamir in eastern Yemen. Faisal bin Ali Jaber, Ahmed Saeed bin Ali Jaber und Khaled Mohmed Naser bin Ali Jaber as many other of their family had gathered in the village to celebrate a wedding. They survived, but two members of the family were killed in the strike. Other family members suffer from ongoing trauma since the drone strike. The US military base in Ramstein was used to help carry out the attack. Despite this link, the German government continues to deny any responsibility for civilian deaths caused by US drone warfare. The family bin Ali Jaber now lodged a complaint against the German government at the Administrative Court in Cologne. The three Yemeni nationals are calling on Germany to accept legal and political responsibility for US drone warfare in Yemen and to stop the use of the US military base and in particular the satellite relay station in Ramstein (southwestern Germany).
ECCHR congratulates Advisory Board member Alejandra Ancheita on Martin Ennals Award
07 October 2014 - "Working closely with migrants, workers indigenous communities, Alejandra Ancheita and ProDESC, have been fighting for many years for and with marginalized people in Mexico to secure their economic and social rights. In her work, she challenges the economic, social and political situation in Mexico, and beyond. As a lawyer she pursues the unexpected, but promising legal interventions and always considers the political and social dimension to every legal proceeding. Despite receiving death threats, suffering defamation and being hampered in her daily work, Ancheita remains optimistic, tireless and brave”, said ECCHR's General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck on the occasion of the Martin Ennals Award ceremony in Geneva.
British court confirms end of Bahraini prince’s immunity
07 October 2014 – After a two year court battle, the UK’s Director of Public Prosecutions has accepted that Bahraini Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa is not immune from prosecution. The High Court in London confirmed this decision at a divisional court hearing in London. This decision opens the door to an investigation by the metropolitan police War Crimes Team SO15 into allegations that the prince was involved in the mistreatment of political prisoners, and a possible prosecution. A Bahraini torture survivor, known only as FF brought the case to challenge the Director of Public Prosecution‘s (DPP) decision that the Prince has state immunity from prosecution. ECCHR, which initially raised the allegations around the time of the 2012 Olympics was an interested party in the proceedings.
Pakistan: KiK stalling on further compensation - Victims prepare to launch lawsuit in Germany
10 September 2014 – Immediate aid: check; long term compensation: still outstanding – that’s the status of negotiations between KiK and survivors and surviving dependants of the fire in the Ali Enterprises textile factory in Pakistan two years ago. 254 people died and 55 were injured in the catastrophe on 11 September 2012. German textile discounter KiK, the factory’s biggest client, made an immediate relief payment following the fire but have been stalling during negotiations on long term compensation. Should the negotiations break down again, they are prepared to take legal action against KiK in a German court. “The victims are looking for justice. They want KiK to finally acknowledge responsibility for its overseas supply operations,” says Miriam Saage-Maaß from ECCHR, which is supporting six families through the legal proceedings surrounding the incident and in the preparation of a lawsuit in Germany.