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Linksunten Indymedia: The search for a forbidden association

by Anna Biselli (translated)
Once again, the authorities are taking action against Linksunten Indymedia. Police searched five people who allegedly run the site's archive. Lawyers suspect a connection with the action against a free radio station and describe the search as a desperate search for an association.
[ After the banning of Linksunten Indymedia, there were several demonstrations, here in Frankfurt am Main. - All rights reserved IMAGO / Tim Wagner ]

Six years ago, the Stuttgart State Criminal Police Office searched several rooms in Freiburg. The Federal Ministry of the Interior had banned the Indymedia Linksunten platform, basing its decision on the existence of a supposed association. Since 2020, an archive of the open-posting site can be accessed again at, but no new contributions appear. Now police officers again searched the rooms of five people who had already been affected in 2017.

They are "suspected of having committed criminal offenses for maintaining the organizational cohesion of this banned association," according to the press release from the Karlsruhe public prosecutor's office and the Baden-Württemberg State Criminal Police Office (LKA). The authorities apparently suspect that the five people run the archive site. According to a statement from Autonomen Antifa Freiburg, about a dozen mobile devices and half a dozen computers were seized.

Those involved have repeatedly denied that there is an association behind Linksunten Indymedia. The civil rights organization Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte (GFF) called the case an "abuse of the law on associations. However, the Federal Administrative Court dismissed lawsuits filed by those affected because the alleged association itself would have to file suit. Similarly, a constitutional complaint failed, which the Federal Constitutional Court did not accept for decision in March 2023.

News report as alleged support for a banned association

Then, in January of this year, the Freiburg police surprisingly searched rooms of the free radio station Radio Dreyeckland (RDL). An editor had linked the Linksunten archive in a contribution. The accusation was that he was supporting the banned association. After the Regional Court in Karlsruhe initially rejected the planned proceedings, the Higher Regional Court in Stuttgart overturned its decision. One of the station's editors is now to stand trial.

The prosecutor's action also raises the question of how an association that no longer exists can be supported. With yesterday's search, the public prosecutor's office is signaling that it believes it exists.

Criminal lawyer Lukas Theune represents one of the people involved and criticizes the procedure. The Karlsruhe public prosecutor's office is conducting politically motivated proceedings against an editor of Radio Dreyeckland, he writes in response to a query from "Because there, however, a prerequisite for criminal liability would be that an association still exists that could be supported at all by a journalistic contribution, it is now desperately trying to find such an association." He had already filed an appeal against the search warrant on behalf of his client yesterday.

David Werdermann of the GFF also doubts the motivation for the renewed action. The organization supports Radio Dreyeckland in its proceedings. "After the Higher Regional Court admitted the charges against the RDL journalist after all, the prosecution is apparently desperate to find more evidence for the continued existence of the banned association," Werdermann writes. "However, proceedings for the formation of a criminal organization were already dropped because no evidence was found. Why should it be any different now?" One gets the impression "that the prosecutor's office is primarily concerned with harassing the left-wing scene in Freiburg."

Erasure of left-wing movement history

Werdermann points out that the archive is not the same as the former site. "A static archive for documentation purposes is clearly different from a dynamic news portal," the lawyer writes. "It is therefore not a continuation of the banned association, regardless of whether the same people are behind it or not."

Linksunten Indymedia used to be one of the most important media of the German-speaking left to radical left, where users could publish contributions anonymously. The archive therefore also documents a history of left-wing movements that goes back many years: It published calls for demonstrations and actions, in-depth research on the right-wing scene, but also letters of confession on militant attacks and outings of individuals. The authorities apparently did not take action against any illegal content in detail, but banned the platform as a whole. This was already criticized by several lawyers in 2017.

"Archives are the memory of society - that applies offline as well as online," Werdermann writes. "Whoever criminalizes this documentation as 'continuation of a banned association' wants to erase a part of left-wing movement history." Until the publication of this text, the archive could still be accessed.

Translation via:

Archive of Linksunten Indymedia

Indymedia linksunten was banned by the German Federal Minister of the Interior on the 25th August 2017. The website remains as an archive. The only archives of movements are made by the movements themselves, and nobody will tell our history unless we do it ourselves. Movements have to leave traces of their passion for future generations, because forgotten fights are lost fights. (1 GB) (85 GB) (300 MB)
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