By Friends & Supporters of Marco Cemenisch
Marco Camenisch was born in 1952 at Schiers and raised in a petit bourgeois environment in Canton Graubünden (Switzerland). Marco started to develop his radical thinking at an early age and in high school Marco began to reject the careerist conceit and elitist thinking that prevailed within the school. He left school to start an apprenticeship as a farmer at “plantahof” school. Here he opposed the notion that fertilizing must be done with chemicals. To escape the society he found himself within, Marco went to Alps becoming a free spirit. However soon after rejecting modern society, by going into the Alps, Marco realized that the conditions he apposed would not change as long as people are not actively resisting them.
In the late 1970s, Marco joined the movement against nuclear power plants and teamed up with the militants who were taking direct action against the power plants. Their tactics included cutting down the nuclear power pylons and sabotage to the actual power stations, as well as targetting individuals who advocated nuclear power.
In January 1980, along with others, Marco was arrested, and after a year on remand, the Court of Canton in Chur/Graubünden found him guilty of using explosives to destroy a pylon and a power station in Bad Ragaz. For this Marco was sentenced to ten years imprisonment. A co-defendant was given a 7.5 year prison sentence.
During his trial Marco had refused to cooperate with judicial authority because he didn’t acknowledge their legitimacy. Also in court he made a statement in which he linked anti-nuclear direct action with the struggle to prevent ecological destruction and the struggle against the whole capitalist social order.
The courts hoped that by jailing Marco they’d manage to stop him. However, in December 1981, together with 5 other prisoners, Marco succeded in escaping from the prison of Regensdorf near Zurich. During the escape there was a shoot out in which a prison warder died and another was seriously injured. Marco was not part of the group that shot the warden.
Following his escape from prison Marco lived a clandestine existance, for ten years, carrying out several actions on the Italian/Swiss boarder to advance his revolutionary beliefs.
In 1989, Swiss Federal Police and the media claimed that Marco was responsible for the killing of a Swiss border police officer at Brusio.
Then in November 1992, in the Toscana area of Italy, the Carabinieri (Italian police) surrounded the place Marco was staying in and after a shoot out Marco was finally captured. But rather than extraditing Marco straight back to Switzerland, the Italian authorities put Marco on trial where he was found guilty of destroying several nuclear electricity pylons in Italy and for this, in April 1993, he was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. For the duration of his imprisonment in Italy Marco was kept in solitary confinement in high security prisons.
In April 2002, having served his sentence in Italy, Marco was extradited to Switzerland.
Following his extradition, firstly Marco was taken to the high security prison of Pfäffikon near Zurich. Then to the prison in Thorberg near Bern. In January 2003, after a hunger strike against the poor conditions of his imprisonment, and after several direct actions carried out internationally in solidarity of Marco, the authorities transferred him to the prison in Chur and improved the conditions. However the improved conditions were only short lived and the authorities soon re-transferred Marco back to prison in Pfäffikon, where they cancelled all the improvements that Marco had struggled for.
In September 2003 the Italian Carabinieri carried out 50 raids against suspected eco-activists who they accused of carrying out radical eco-actions including the destruction of skiing resorts, incinerators, mobile phone masks, TV towers, etc. The authorities also raided Marco’s Swiss prison cell accusing him of being the mastermind behind all these actions. It was widely believed at the time that these high profile raids were carried out as an attempt to try and destroy the international solidarity which supported Marco. But rather than weakening Marco’s support it merely strengthed the support. So in November 2003 Marco was moved to yet another prison.
In May 2004 Marco was put on trialo accused of both murdering the Swiss boarder guard who died in 1989 and the attempted murder of a prison warden during his escape in 1981. At the end of the trial, in June 2004, Marco was found Not Guilty of the attempted murder of the prison guard, but Guilty of the boarder guards murder. He was given an additional 17 years prison sentence (to run consecutively with the ten year sentence issued to him in 1980 for blowing up the pylons) and shortly after his sentencing he was moved to yet another prison this time in Regensdorf where he remains today.
It should be noted that after all the years in prison, Marco, who calls himself an anarchist, has never let the authorities change his mind about his political convinctions. Instead of this, whilst behind bars, he has stayed a political activist. By means of writing letters, he has organized a far-reaching network of political and personal relations. The bad conditions of imprisonment that he has been and still is subjected to in Switzerland clearly pursue an objective by the authorities. The authorities want to break Marco. They hate the fact he has remained steadfast to his political identity and they loath his continued refusal to cooperate with the judicial authority and for this they want to break him both politically and personally.
It is up to the international prisoner support movement to make sure Marco receives all the support he can get and to remind the authorities that the support for Marco is as strong as ever.
The original version of this article was written by friends and supporters of Marco Camenisch in April 2003. It was revised slightly in March 2004 for clarity of reading.
Statement by Italian Eco-Prisoner Marco Camenish
A statement dated February 2002. The statement reads:
“To the comrades
To authority of repression
On 18th AprilI’ll have served a sentence of 12 years in Italy and I’ll be extradited to Switzerland for to be submitted to various trials with accusations that provides life sentences too.
I do not recognise any legitimacy to Government and repressive machine, consequently I’ll exclude any statements in front of this machine and their representatives, except perhaps spontaneously in public/before a court.
I warn the repressive body not to repeat the extortion of false statements from my family, especially from my elderly mother and from my brother, both not able to be interrogated due to health reasons, through pressures and coercion like it happened after the death of a member of the Swiss Financial Police in 1989, for which I’m charged.
Due to personal reasons like being too old, a prejudicated health and social responsibilities and needs, it would not be possible and reasonable for me and that long before, to take up arms and underground life again, in the antiauthoritarian struggle. But I continue to revenge the necessity of a radical antiauthoritarian struggle against rule and exploitation always more aggressive and destructive (now by technological capitalism and his total war against individual, societies, cultures and environments of the Earth community) and for ANOTHER NECESSARY WORLD, necessarily based on solidarity and antiauthoritarian and fair relationship among all individuals and communities of the things, the non-human and human lives, that from the terrestrial community.”
Should anyone be interested, letters of support for Marco can be sent to:
Marco Camenisch, Postfach 3143, CH-8105 Regensdorf, Switzerland