part of this story appeared in the Guardian, August 31, 2010
The two protesters on trial in Copenhagen for terrorism-related offences during the environment summit last December have both been cleared. Of the nearly 2000 people arrested, a small number which includes 13 Greenpeace activists, are still awaiting trial.
The original charges facing Natasha Verco and Noah Weiss included organising violence and significant damage to property and carried a maximum twelve and half year sentence; those charges were subsequently dropped to ones carrying six and a half, but today a court in Copenhagen cleared the pair of all of them. Simultaneously more than 200 complaints against the Copenhagen police are also being heard, with a decision not likely until October.
Verco, who was arrested while riding her bike near the Copenhagen lakes and held in prison for three weeks, said: “I’m so happy, it’s so wonderful. It was very quick in the end, the judges retired for a very short time and then came back and said quite clearly that they found us not guilty.
The whole experience has been appalling, terrifying, something I never expected. To be imprisoned for three weeks on the most ridiculous acccusations, and then to have to wait for nine months to be acquitted, it’s made me see Denmark very differently. I used to think it was a democratic country, but the policing during the Copenhagen summit was anti-democratic, it’s made me feel much less safe here. But we’ve had amazing support from all over the country, and I think the trials have made people really talk about what this all means for Denmark.”
The chief prosecutor for the Danish police Dorit Dorgaard commented: “The judge only said that there is not sufficient evidence. We will be waiting for the written judgement in order to decide whether to appeal the case. We’re not disappointed; if this is the decision that the court comes to we will have to look at what the judge says.”
Asked how the Danish police now regarded the December operation, given the large numbers of arrests and extremely small relative number of convictions, she said: “The aim was to prevent trouble by evaluating the situation as it happened and then detaining people before anything serious could take place. It was a relative success, but we can always learn how to do things better next time.”