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Photo: The founder and leader of the lateral thinking (Querdenken) movement in Germany, Michael Ballweg. Still from video by Kai Stuht.

What’s Wrong With Germany?: The Michael Ballweg Case

It is said that the best stories are never told. The rule of law in Germany is becoming more and more about politics. Who goes down depends on who you’ve rattled.

There were several riots across Germany on New Year’s Eve. Police officers and firefighters were attacked with firecrackers and rockets during various operations. The attacks on New Year’s Eve were particularly violent in some areas of Berlin.

All suspects of New Year’s Eve riots were released. According to the police, 45 of the suspects have German nationality, 27 suspects are Afghan nationals, and 21 are Syrians. Two-thirds are from the Middle East and North Africa.

“There were not ten, not twenty, but hundreds of young men. They came at us from all directions, bottles, stones, firecrackers flew towards us, explosions could be heard. These young people purposefully ran towards us to shoot at us. And they didn’t come from the left-wing scene, let’s call it a spade: they were young men with a migration background,” said one of the Berlin firefighters in an interview. The TV network ARD cut out the part where the firefighter talked about migrants.

It is almost certain; nothing will happen to the suspects. Meanwhile, Michael Ballweg, the man who leads the “lateral thinking” (Querdenken) movement opposing the disproportionate corona measures in Germany, including the constitution-violating vaccination campaigns, is sitting in prison without a trial. He is accused of financial inconsistencies.

Ballweg, who has been in custody for 6 months, has never inflicted violence on anyone. But that is not all. The scandal gets more scandalous when one learns about the circumstances in which Ballweg remains incarcerated without a trial.

After six months of investigation, a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office in Stuttgart said on December 28 that the investigation would not end soon. By law, pre-trial detention may last a maximum of six months. No hard proof has been found for the allegations of fraud and money laundering. As Ballweg’s Defense team explains in a press release, the Ballweg case reeks of political persecution. The subliminal message is: this is what will happen to you if you think for yourself and inspire others.

Freedom is indivisible. The Michael Ballweg case is about freedom, your freedom and the freedom of all of us.

Attorney Alexander Christ is spokesman for Michael Ballweg’s defense team. Here is the press release:

The Stuttgart Higher Regional Court has ordered that Michael Ballweg be kept in custody. In the decision of January 2nd, 2023, all arguments and evidence of the defense were completely ignored. The accused was also not given access to the files, so that it was not possible for him to give a proper prior statement.

On January 2, 2023, the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court ordered the detention of lateral thinking founder Michael Ballweg to continue for more than six months.

Last rebellion of the declining Corona regime: Michael Ballweg stays in Stammheim

Once again, the judiciary violated the accused’s basic rights to a fair hearing and a fair trial:

1. Michael Ballweg did not have the investigative files from the public prosecutor’s office to prepare for the decision to continue his detention.

2. The accused was also not informed of the motion for continued detention by the Stuttgart Public Prosecutor’s Office dated December 22, 2022 and the decision of the Stuttgart District Court to submit the motion for continued detention dated December 21, 2022.

3. All procedural errors put forward by the defense were completely ignored, ie the Higher Regional Court did not reject them in its decision, but did not even mention them. These include, among other things:

a. The unlawful termination of the notice of arrest by the district judge on November 29, 2022. According to the case law of the Federal Constitutional Court, an arrest warrant that was not issued properly may not be the subject of a decision on the continuation of detention.

b. The arrest warrant was issued on November 14, 2022 by the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court. Contrary to the legal requirement, the date of the announcement of the arrest did not take place the next day, but only on November 29, 2022.

c. The lack of access to files for Michael Ballweg. According to the law, the accused may comment on the application for the continuation of detention, but to do so he would have to know it and the investigation activities and results on which it is based.

4. All factual questions put forward by the defense regarding an alleged urgent suspicion were completely ignored. According to the case law of the Federal Constitutional Court, a decision to continue detention requires a detailed justification. In fact, the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court – despite already refuted assumptions in the arrest warrant of November 14, 2022 – referred exclusively to this and did not take new findings into account.

These include, among other things:

a. After the arrest warrant was issued on November 14, 2022 and the announcement date was November 29, 2022, Michael Ballweg’s tax advisor was questioned. All exculpatory findings from this interrogation for Michael Ballweg have been completely ignored.

b. Michael Ballweg has proven with documentary evidence or by offering to witness that he spent more than 400,000 euros more for the purpose of lateral thinking than the public prosecutor’s office assumed in their investigations. This evidence continues to be ignored by the higher regional court and the public prosecutor’s office.

c. In the arrest warrant dated November 14, 2022, Michael Ballweg is accused of having registered a business on June 5, 2020, which was supposed to relate to the activities of lateral thinking. The proof that a trade was only registered in February 2021 and that this was done at the instigation of the tax authorities and with the advice of the tax consultant was completely ignored.

i.e. The fact that Michael Ballweg spent considerable costs on foundation advice and that he had already initiated the establishment of a family foundation on May 18, 2020, which is to be the sponsor of a non-profit limited company that is yet to be established and the prerequisites for this have been created also completely ignored.

5. All factual questions put forward by the defense regarding an alleged risk of absconding were completely ignored. These include, among other things:

a. It was alleged that Michael Ballweg opened an account in Costa Rica. This false claim was refuted with documents. This new finding was not addressed in the decision to continue his detention.

b. It was alleged that Michael Ballweg had transferred money to this alleged account in Costa Rica. This false claim was refuted with documents. This new finding was not addressed in the decision to continue his detention.

c. It was alleged that Michael Ballweg had applied for a residency permit in Costa Rica. This false claim was refuted with documents. This new finding was not addressed in the decision to continue his detention.

6. The decision to continue detention contains 13 pages of tables with the investigative activities of the police / public prosecutor’s office. Sufficient investigating officers were allegedly deployed to determine the purpose of the donation by the donors. In fact, exactly one investigating officer has been deployed for several thousand donors. For the defense it is a complete mystery how this ratio can be considered appropriate and accelerated. Continued detention may only be ordered if it is apparent that the investigations were conducted with the required speed.

It should be borne in mind that detention decisions always mean that an innocent person is deprived of his or her liberty without a trial. This deprivation of liberty can no longer be reversed – even with later compensation. For this reason, the European Court of Human Rights in particular requires a special depth of justification for detention decisions. The decision of the Higher Regional Court of January 2, 2023 contains no justification at all. Beyond a clichéd rendering of the law, the higher regional court deals neither with the content of the file nor with the defense’s presentation.

The handling of the judiciary in Stuttgart with the basic and human rights of the accused Michael Ballweg increasingly suggests that there are other motives behind the decisions than criminal ones. In detention proceedings, it can be expected that courts will deal with legal arguments and facts. There can be different evaluations and different opinions. However, the fact that courts completely ignore presentations, receipts, evidence, offers of witnesses and requests for the submission of investigation files or the sending of statements by the public prosecutor’s office has nothing to do with the rule of law.

The fact that the defense was initially to receive the decision exclusively by post and that it was only sent to a defense attorney by fax in advance due to massive inquiries, while the press was informed directly by the Higher Regional Court, shows how the Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart dealt with the rights of the lateral thinking founder.

The defense will now examine a constitutional complaint to the Federal Constitutional Court. At the same time, another detention review is requested before the district court.

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