Court ruling: Tibet activist held illegally by Danish police

The Copenhagen City Court today ruled that it was illegal when the police on 15 June 2012 told Thomas Homer Goetz that he had to stay where he was for about 70 minutes after he had held up a Tibetan flag in a public park 75 meters from Rosenborg Castle just before Hu Jintao, then president of China, was due to arrive at the castle during his state visit to Denmark. During his detention, the police told Thomas to place the flag on the ground beside him.

Five other Tibet activists lost their similar court cases against the police today. 

The judge found that it was legal when the police on 15 June 2012 briefly detained Luna Pedersen - vicechairman of the Danish Students for a Free Tibet chapter - after she had held up a Tibetan flag at the famous Little Mermaid at the Copenhagen Harbour while Hu passed on a boat together with the Danish queen. The detention took place after a police woman had (wrongfully) accused Luna for possession of narcotics in order to enable a legal body search.

The court also decided that it was legal when policemen escorted 4 other Tibet activists away from the square in front of the Danish Parliament where they tried to hold up Tibetan flags as Hu arrived at Christiansborg Castle for a state banquet. This news story from today (in Danish) contains a video showing how the police forced the 4 activists away from the square and took a flag from them:

Four of the five Tibet activists who lost their cases today have already decided to appeal. It is not unlikely that the police will similarly appeal the one case that they lost.

The Tibet Support Committee, Denmark, also announced today that we intend to file a new court case against the Danish authorities for their violation of our freedom of expression and right to demonstrate. We have been strategically using the formal and state-funded cases against illegal detention of six Tibet activists in order to gather evidence from the authorities for the main case.

During the new court case we will also claim that Danish police abused their power when they hid our demonstration behind 4 busses just before Hu arrived at Christiansborg. They also told us to turn down the volume of our music so that it couldn't be heard by the participants at the state banquet.

We have recently aquired documents from the Danish Foreign Ministry that show how the Chinese Embassy in Copenhagen from the outset of the planning of Hu's state visit tried to convince the Danish authorities that Tibet activists are "dangerous" and that they threw stones at former president Jiang Zemin when he visited the UK (it turned out to be eggs). During the state visit to Denmark, Chinese security personnel similarly played an active role in identifying people with Tibetan flags which they called "illegal". The police knows very well that Tibet activists in Denmark have a long and consistent history of non-violence and peaceful demonstrations but in the end the Chinese seems to have been able to convince the Danish authorities that they should ban anybody carrying a Tibetan flag near Hu's route in Copenhagen. We know of 11 separate cases where individuals with Tibetan flags were prevented from flying it near the president during his stay here.

We hope that our new court case will, in the end, prevent such abuse of power in the future. When the Danish authorities themselves abuse their power, their statements about Human Rights abuses in China will never be taken seriously.

For more information about our court cases and the Chinese state visit to Denmark (all in Danish), see

18 February 2014

The Tibet Support Committee, Denmark

Contact: Anders H. Andersen, tel. +45 5055 2842


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