The Freiburg radio station wrote about the discontinuation of a criminal investigation and linked to “Indymedia Linksunten”. It is the first police crackdown since the founding of the former pirate media 35 years ago.
Police in Freiburg searched “Radio Dreyeckland” on Tuesday morning. According to a press release, several search warrants issued by the public prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe were executed. The background is a preliminary investigation on “suspicion of a violation of a ban on association”. The website of the radio collective had published an article with a link to “Linksunten Indymedia”.
The internet platform often referred to as “Linksunten” was banned in 2017 by the then Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière (CDU) under the Associations Act as a “criminal association” because its purpose and activities were “directed against the constitutional order”. Alleged evidence came, among other things, from reports by an informer at the domestic secret service, which at the time was still headed by the right-winger Hans-Georg Maaßen.
Three years ago, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig rejected complaints against the ban on formal grounds. According to the court, “only the banned association itself is entitled to take legal action, not members of the association or third parties”. Obviously, none of the plaintiffs had confessed to being part of the “criminal association”.
De Maizière did not try to take the domain “linksunten.inymedia.org” down in 2017, but all the content was taken offline by persons with access to it. Shortly before the trial in Leipzig, unknown acitivists had put it back online, but only as an archive. It is no longer possible to post on Indymedia without prior registration.
The raid on Tuesday morning began at 8 am. Ten officers searched the newsroom, and the residences of two editors were also searched. Among other things, USB sticks and mobile phones were confiscated.
The reason for the search was an article written under the abbreviation “FK” from August 2022, RDL editor Fabian Kienert confirmed to “nd”. It reports on the discontinuation of the preliminary criminal proceedings against “Linksunten”. In November 2020, the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg already declared the former search of the Freiburg Autonomous Centre, which de Maizière had described as a criminal “association headquarters”, illegal. The RDL article in question also pointed this out.
The radio station’s lawyer had negotiated with the police to stop the raid. After Kienert outed himself as the author of the article and handed over the laptop used for it, the officers actually left. Kienert sees this as blackmail and an “unprecedented intrusion into editorial secrecy”. Numerous contacts of the long-time journalist are now in the hands of the police, but on an encrypted device.
RDL was initially founded in 1977 as a pirate radio station and is considered the oldest free radio station in Germany. The current search is the first after the radio received an official broadcasting licence in 1988, according to Kienert.
Published in German in „nd“.
Image: Officials in the radio station’s editorial offices (Radio Dreyeckland).