We Have Never Done this Job

Interview in MALMOE¹ with two of the accused

F. and I. Are two of the eight men from Pakistan accused of human smuggling/“Schlep-
perei“ as a criminal association. Only few days before they were arrested in summer
2013, eight refugee activists had been deported to Pakistan. Three of the accused were
arrested in Servitenkloster, where the protesters had been pushed to go by governmen-
tal and church authorities some months before. In February 2014 there was still no
trial date fixed, six of the accused were still in investigative custody. F. and I. have been
released some weeks ago. MALMOE talked to them about the accusations, friendly
turns and ten million Euros.

MALMOE: In the end of July you were arrested , put into prison and recently you were
released. How are you doing?

I: Not very well, but it is okay. We are still waiting for the trial. When I think about it I
feel stressed. We still don’t know when the trial will start. But at least we are not in prison

What are the exact accusations?

I: I don’t know exactly, human smuggling/Schlepperei. When I asked the police why they
arrested me, they said: „Because you were part of a protest. That’s not Pakistan, that is
Austria.“ They showed me pictures of the protest against the deportation of eight persons
to Pakistan in a newspaper. I was on this pictures, yes. But protest is not a crime.

How were the circumstances of your imprisonment, and what happened after-

F.: I said good-bye to friends at the trainstation Philadelphiabrücke. It was the 29th of July
2013 in the evening, when they arrested me. The day of the deportations to Pakistan. They
brought me to Eisenstadt.

I.: I was arrested the next morning and also brought to Eisenstadt, as the others. There
our lives in prison started. From there they brought the two of us and another person to
JVA (=prison) Josefstadt, the others to Wiener Neustadt. After three months we were also
transferred to Wiener Neustadt.

What is your opinion on the accusations?

I.: They arrested us because of human smuggling/Schlepperei, but we have never done
this. We have many friends here. At the protest camp about 300 Pakistani were involved.
About 20 of these are still in Vienna, eight were deported and six are still in prison. All
the others left the country. When friends call you and say, that they are leaving you say
goodbye. This is not human smuggling. Police says they have been observing us for four
months, so they know what we did. But if they knew that well, why didn’t they catch us
together with illegal persons? Simply because we have never done this work.

F.: When we were arrested, they said, that we had earned ten million Euros with human
smuggling. The public view is now, that we had a big business. But we don’t, that’s a big
lie. We have no money at all, where should this ten million be? If we had that much mon-
ey, we wouldn’t live in the monastery.

I.: I left Pakistan because there is no justice. My relatives are dead, that’s why I came here.
I thought this would be a place for a human life, Europe. But now, as I’m here, I don’t feel
as if I am living in Europe. I don’t have freedom here, I didn’t experience justice. The six
months in prison we will never get back in our lives. But I hope we will get justice from

F.: We helped people, who didn’t know what to do. When I was released in Wiener
Neustadt I didn’t know where to buy a ticket. I asked somebody and it was shown to me.
We also did such things, for brothers from Pakistan. Police observed everything, not only
telephones, also bank accounts, Western Union, everything. Where is the money they say
we earned?

Six persons, who are accused in the same case are still in custody. Why have you been
released and the others not?

I.: I don’t know. I’ve been released just like that, they opened the door and said, that I
could go. I suppose it has something to do with the asylum case. Maybe they think, that
people whose appeals were rejected would leave the country if they let them go.

F.: I had a review of a remand in custody, a judge decided to let me go. I was 18 years old
at this time, maybe that’s the reason. But I also don’t know why.
What are your experiences in custody, how did the police and the prison guards treat you?

I.: The situation was bad, the food also, and nobody ever listened to us. I wasn’t called by
my name but „Votivkirche“. For example for two weeks I asked every day for the social
service. And when the woman from the social service came and asked, what I wanted,
she was accompanied by police. I couldn’t talk to her alone, and she didn’t listen to me

F.: I hurt myself in prison, I cut my arms, because they said that I would be deported. A
policeman pinched me in my wounds and hit me. That was how they behaved.

How do you see the accusations from a political perspective?

I.: We think, that we were arrested for taking part in the protest. And we ask ourselves,
why we are still waiting for the trial.

F.: Other people are also in prison because of Schlepperei and they admit it. They get their
trial quickly and are sentenced with one month in prison and 13 months of probation.
But we have been in prison for six months without seeing a judge. And we still don’t know
when the process will start.

¹ Issue 66, 03/2014, or online: http://malmoe.org/artikel/widersprechen/2736