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V. International Symposium Against Isolation
 
Greece / Athens, 15th-18th December 2006

Dear friends,
ladies and gentlemen...

First of all, we want to send our greetings in the name of the International Platform against Isolation and invite you to our next (V.) International Symposium against Isolation, which is going to be held in Greece / Athens from 15th - 18th December 2006.

Some of you have already sent delegates to our IV. Symposium in Paris (16th-19th December 2005), some of you also participated in our previous symposiums in the Netherlands (2002), in Italy (2003) and in Berlin (2004).

There has been published a magazine on the symposium in Paris 2005. It was sent to all political prisoners and POW's who (as far as we have been informed) supported the symposium with a symbolic hunger strike during that days. We also provided the magazine to a large number of participants. If you wish to receive a pdf-version of our publication we could send you by e-mail.

WHAT WILL BE THE MAIN ISSUES TO DISCUSS ON OUR COMING SYMPOSIUM:

* The terrible increase of aggression against the people in several countries and regions of the world, especially the military attacks of the Israeli army against the whole Palestinian population, which take place under approval of the USA and almost all other imperialist countries of the European Union, such as the extension of this war by invading the South of Lebanon, killing thousands of civilians and destroying big parts of the region...
* The ongoing occupation and brutality in Iraq and Afghanistan accompanied by a psychological war and detention camps as Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and several other secret camps spread over Europe and all continents, legitimized through the "fight against terrorism".
* The extension of this war by serious threats against the countries Syria, Iran and finally North-Korea, as well legitimized through the US-war on terror, such as the attempt to find allies within the EU for this politics and to strengthen the ties to existing collaborating regimes...
* The hostile position towards Cuba, Venezuela and other countries, which insist in their independence, which has become especially visible during the recent summit between EU and USA... * The continuous isolation attack in the F-type prisons in Turkey, which are exemplary for the annihilation of any democratic voice and resistance, such as the silent approval and support to this politics by a large number of European Union member states. And in this context the resistance against isolation on all levels, which still continues and has reached a very high level in a campaign, including nameable intellectuals, artists and lawyers, especially as a consequence of the death fast of lawyer Behic Asci, who is fasting for more than 200 days already.
* The isolation practises and unacceptable conditions within some prisons in Europe, as for example within the high security prison Maghaberry in Northern Ireland, which have recently led to a common resistance with tens of Irish Rebublican prisoners from different organisations...
* The mass persecutions and political trials against left activists in many countries of Europe, supported by new anti-terror laws and black lists, as for example the persecution and arrest of revolutionaries from Turkey in Belgium as well as of Danish leftists like members of "Oproer", followed by mass trials against left activists in Italy... The ban of the Czech Communist Youth (KSM) is another example of the reactionary and neoliberal politics in the Eastern Europe, that attempts to ban ideas.
* The ongoing repression against Basque political prisoners and the politics of dispersion, such as the criminalization of large parts of the Basque movement...
* The continuous detention and persecution of anti-imperialist, anarchist and environmental activists in the United States, such as the mass persecutions, legitimized through the racist "Anti-terror" laws in the aftermath of September 11, such as the ongoing detention of numerous Native prisoners, Black Panthers and African American captives, imprisoned for 20 years, and finally the "Cuban 5", who have faced 8 years of illegal detention in September this year, because they attempted to prevent a terrorist attack against their country...

All these serious developments and many others that hadn't yet been mentioned, confirm the necessity to strengthen the cooperation between all democratic and resisting forces in the world and to work on a large Network in order to remove the isolation between our movements, the isolation of political prisoners and of countries, who are faced with threats of war, occupation and embargos for tens of years.

Nevertheless, we think that these are reasons enough to meet once again, better prepared and shorter in our speeches in order to develop a common practice of GLOBAL RESISTANCE which has correctly turned out to a "key word" during the past years.

We decided to organize our next symposium from 15th-18th December, close to the 19th-22nd December, which were announced as International Days of Struggle against Isolation related to the massacre in prisons of Turkey and the resistance of prisoners against the establishment of f-type isolation cells.

Despite of 122 deaths and although Europe and other parts of the world are aware about this reality they continue to remain silent on this ongoing crime and their governments keep on strengthening their support to the regime in Turkey, while trying to silence progressive forces from Turkey by new Anti-terror laws.

The fact, that Behic Asci, as the first lawyer joining the death fast resistance and Gülcan Görüroglu, mother of two young girls, have become part of this struggle outside, proves another time, that this resistance doesn't know any borders, neither in sacrificial manner nor at the prison gates.

We propose additional workshops and network meetings during the symposium, in order to work out a calendar of activities and to send before or to bring materials explaining about the torture methods, the condition and number of prisoners and the general situation of the countries, in order to keep the speeches limited while the time for practical questions will be extended.

In addition of seminaries we also want to organize another meeting between prisoner's support groups, friends and family associations and experienced lawyers and jurists from different countries, with the purpose to build a bridge between the political and juridical struggle and to establish a functioning network against repression, with special attention to the recent developments in Europe.

In order to reach tangible results at the symposium, we should establish a coordination office in order to circulate urgent information and to be able to act more flexible.

Overview on participants:

One of the topics of the symposium will be again the politics in US-jails, with different guests from the USA, as for example the Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement, the Irish Unity Committee and Robert Robideau, the lawyer of the Indian-American prisoner Leonard Peltier.

Also the isolation politics towards Latin-America, first of all the countries Venezuela and Cuba, who follow an alternative/revolutionary solution, will be on the agenda of the symposium. Beside of Komite !Basta Ya, speaking on the sanctions and embargo of Cuba, we also invited the lawyer of the "Cuban 5" Leonard Weinglass and representatives of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The Middle East, as a warning example for the isolation politics towards countries, will play as well an important role in our symposium. We invited representatives of the resistance, lawyers for justice and intellectuals from the whole Mid-East region.

Among our participants there will be Dr. Sahar Mahdi, an Iraqi lawyer, who gives voluntary legal assistance to Abu-Ghraib prisoners, Dr. Hisham Bustani, who among others represents the Resistant Arab People's Alliance - Pan Arab and the Union of Professional Associations from Jordan, Mohammed Safa, the general secretary of the Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims in Lebanon, who can first hand speak about the devastation and the recent situation of his country after the Israeli aggression and occupation, which has also destroyed a branch of their Center in South Lebanon, Awni Al-Kalemji, spokesperson of the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance and representatives of the Palestinian Community in Austria.

There will participate many other delegates from the region, including doctors and lawyers from Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Sudan.

Among the delegates from Turkey, there will be members of professional chambers, trade unions and lawyers, as well as prisoners' families, former prisoners and representatives who will focus on different areas of struggle for fundamental rights and freedoms.

There will be lawyers, prison support organisations and associations from several countries in Europe. Besides the prisoner's collective Kalera from the Basque Country (Euskadi), different committees working on political trials in Italy, Belgium, Germany and Denmark have been invited.

Our invitation is open for all people and movements, who stand for a broad union of all democratic and progressive forces.

If you would like to join the symposium against isolation and speak about any related topic in your country, please send us a short presentation of your organisation/network or the question you would like to discuss.

IPAI - International Platform against Isolation
E-mail: isolation@post.com
address:
c/o Stiftgasse 8
1070 Vienna
Austria

e-mail address : symposium_athens2006@yahoo.de

***

PROGRAM

Friday, 15th December 2006:

09.00 a.m.: Begin of reception and registration of delegates

11.00 a.m.-12.30 p.m.: Opening of the conference by the International Platform against Isolation, report on the last symposias and introduction of the international delegates, overview of program

12.30 a.m.- 1.30 p.m.: Lunch break

2.00 - 4.00 p.m.: Seminar on political trials and criminalization of social movements- How to defend our basical and political rights?
Moderation: IPAI
Speakers:
International democratic lawyers, CLEA - Committee for the Freedom of Expression and Organization (Belgium*), Anatolian Federation (Germany), “Promoter Committee” for the “Campaign Against the Art. 270 and the Associative Offences”(Italy), Opror (Rebellion, Denmark*), Federation for Fundamental Rights (Turkey), Youth Federation (Turkey)

(* participation not confirmed)

8.00-11.30 p.m.: Big cultural event - "Concert for the future and hope of the people"
International Folk/Protest music, poems and international special guests...
Short interventions of delegates from USA, Latinamerica, Palestine...
Grup Yorum, Greek music, Arabic music, artists read poems for the prisoners

Saturday, 16th December 2006:

10.00 a.m.-1.00 p.m.: Seminar on isolation of political prisoners - How to extend our common struggle?
Moderation: International Platform against Isolation
Speakers:
Dr. Sahad Mahdi, lawyer (Iraq), Robert Robideau, lawyer of Indian-American prisoner Leonard Peltier (USA), representative of the prisoners' support association TAYAD (Turkey), Texas Death Penalty Abolition Movement (USA), Irish Unity Committee (USA), Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims (Lebanon), Palestinian Community Austria, Basque Prisoners' Collective KALERA (Euskadi), TMMOB - Architectural's Chamber of Turkey, Istanbul Bar Association, Prison's Dialogue (ex-political prisoners from Iran in Exile)

1.00-2.00 p.m.: Lunch break

2.00 - 4.00 p.m.: Seminar on the resistance against global war
(The "failure of the Big Middle East Project) - How to support the Resistance of the entire people?
Moderation: IPAI
Speakers: Dr. Hisham Bustani, Jordan, HÖC (Turkey), Awni Al-Kalemji, Iraqi Patriotic Alliance, Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims (Lebanon)

6.00 - 7.30 p.m.: Meeting of the Network for Political Prisoners Solidarity
Democratic lawyers, prisoner's support associations working out an annual concept for action in solidarity with the prisoners and political activists on trial

Sunday, 17th December 2006:

10.00-12.00 a.m.: Cultural and politic-historical city trip

12.00 a.m. - 2.00 p.m.: Seminar on the US- "War on Terror" and the future of social and political Rights in Europe

2.00 p.m.: Lunch break

3.00 p.m.: Working group to finalize the declaration and prepares a calendar for activities in 2007

6.30: dinner

Monday, 18th December 2006:

12.00 a.m. - 1.00 p.m.: Commemoration and press conference at the EAT-ESA
(EAT-ESA is a museum today, and it was used as a torture center of the gendarmery during the military junta)

4.30 p.m.: Meeting with European Union's representation
International Platform Against Isolation

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