LETTER TO FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER CHRYSTIA FREELAND CALLING FOR CONSULAR MONITORING OF MONIKA SCHAEFER’S FREE SPEECH TRIAL IN MUNICH
Canadian Association for Free Expression
Rexdale, Ontario, M9W 5L3
Ph: 289-674-4455; FAX: 289-674-4820
Paul Fromm, B.Ed, M.A. Director
June 21, 2018
Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
House of Commons
Re: MONIKA SCHAEFER, JAILED IN MUNICH
Dear Minister Freeland:
I am writing out of deep concern about a Canadian now languishing in a German prison and now about to face trial under a law, Sec. 130 of the German Criminal Code having to do with racial incitement.
The woman, Monika Schaefer was born in Canada and is a Canadian citizen. On January 3, while visiting her brother and attending a trial in Munich, she was seized and arrested and sent to Stadelheim, a maximum security prison in Munich. She was visited by an official from the Canadian Consulate who offered her some help with matters in Canada but informed her they were only allowed to visit every six months. She remained imprisoned WITHOUT being charged until mid-May. Her trial begins July 3.
Several weeks ago her brother Alfred was advised by the Canadian Consul in Munich that, on Ottawa’s orders, there would be no consular observer at her two week trial. This is a matter of free speech and protection of Canadians travelling abroad. Let’s be clear: Ms Schaefer could face five years in prison. The issue before the court is a video she recorded in June, 2016 in which she apologizes to her late mother for haranguing her as a teenager for not having “done something” to stop the killings of Jews in WWII.
Actually, if we believe in freedom of speech, her views, like them of not as expressed in her six minute video “Sorry, Mom, I Was Wrong About the Holocaust,” should not matter.
The absence an observer from the Consulate sends a distinct message to the German authorities: We are not interested in this woman; do as you please. That is appalling.
When I and others have sought to inquire from various government officials about what is being done for Monika Schaefer, we are shuffled aside by the invocation of the Right to Privacy Act. This is the typical response: “Please know that consular officials are bound by the Privacy Act and cannot release details about consular cases. This also applies to the case of Ms. Schaefer. I can, however, confirm that Canadian officials in Germany are providing consular assistance to her.”
This is one of the most misused bureaucratic excuses for keeping matters secret. We are not inquiring about Ms Schaefer’s sex life (or lack of it) in prison or about any allergies she might have but about what is being done to assist her.
We urge you to reconsider the decision and send an observer to Ms Schaefer’s trial. She is a violinist and has long taken a passionate interest in her community, having four times run in elections for the Green Party, which, I trust will not be held against her. An observer lets the German authorities know that Canada’s government cares and is concerned about freedom of speech. We had hoped that more active interest on the part of the Canadian Government might have convinced the German authorities to avoid a trial and simplydeport her and send her home to Canada.