In February 2011 a police group headed by AI Robert Bauer accused Pastor Joshua, an African priest at Grace Ministries International, of haven sold drug to numerous clients. He was unjustly and swiftly put to jail without any credible evidences. As it seems he was already pre-judged even before the court hearing – nothing new in good old Austria, where being found guilty seems to be in the natural order of things – especially, when it comes to cases involving “foreigners”. One just has to remember the verdicts spelled out during “Operation Spring” in 2000: “The accused is found guilty of having sold an unknown amount of drugs, at an unknown place and an unknown time to unknown persons” …
Was he found guilty in the court because of the color of his skin?
Is this how the judicial system functions when it comes to migrants?
The case of Pastor Joshua – yet another example
The police claims that they have been monitoring the Pastor’s drug dealing activities for quite a time; not only have they seen him selling drugs (for which – astonishingly – there is no visible proof), but also – before and after having sold drugs – going into and leaving a building in Mundygasse in the 10th district. Oddly enough, it was only after having verified at the council office that – and which – black male was living there that the police could arrest him. On this respective morning Pastor Joshua was not in this apartment; the police waited for his arrival and when he came there, he was immediately arrested and imprisoned in Burgenland.
During the first court hearing that took place in 2011, the police presented the following evidences: First of all they brought forward eight witnesses, two of whom claimed to have bought drugs from the Pastor while the other six witnesses stood against such claims; it has to be said though, that the two of them were imprisoned and frequented by the police – a fact that suggests, that they may have been compromised. Secondly the police presented yam powder as evidence during the hearing claiming that with this milk powder Pater Joshua used to mix his Cocaine with. This same substance (yam powder) can be found in every Nigerian household, as it is a common food in West Africa and in India. As careless as the police can be when handling cases of black Africans, they deemed it not necessary to check the powder in the laboratory before tendering it in the Law Court as evidence. Furthermore the police brought black shoes with white sole forward, a thing can be found in nearly every man’s shoe locker, which the police smartly identified as being shoes of a drug dealer.
It is on this weak ground that he was found guilty. After having served 8 months of his 15 months sentence, he was set free and has now made an appeal against criminalization, as he wants true justice to prevail.
We are an advocacy group made up of relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbors of the latest victim of a racially abused black male in Vienna. It is still happening again and again that the Austrian police can use all vices available – including the law! – to put every black male down irrespectively of what personality they might be, or and this is maybe even more important when speaking about the law: irrespectively of what he might have done. In our view, a high level of injustice has been done against Pastor Joshua Esosa. Such an injustice is seen as a case of racist prejudice and is therefore an injustice done to all of us.
The question we are now facing is: How long can we all sit and wait seeing these unapologetic injustices done to all of us happening without being questioned? The time has come to say: “It is really enough!!” Therefore, we are calling on you and on all human rights organizations to come out and join voices as we go on the street to show solidarity for an innocent victim and campaign against all racist injustices done against all immigrants in this country, even if they are happening behind closed doors. The doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd and slavish! Living as an oppressed puts you in a position of being deprived from all basic human rights. This time it is about Pastor Joshua Esosa. May God empower us all as we stand up on his behalf!
Let us all work together against INEQUALITY!
Let us all stand together against STIGMATIZATION!
Let us all come together against RACISM in this society.
The next court hearing is on the 6th of June 2012.
Landesgericht, Saal 305/3. Stock, Wickenburggasse 22, Vienna 1080.
We would ask as many people as possible to attend the hearing and monitor the process!
Demonstration takes place on Friday, 1st June 2012
Gathering at the front of the Justice Ministry
Museumsstraße 7, 1070 Wien / Weghuberpark
(U3, U2, 48A, at the corner of Neustiftgasse, next to Volkstheater)
@2:45pm Street march through Museumstrasse until Landesgerichtsstrasse
(passing behind the Rathaus, U2)
Statements in front of the Landesgericht für Strafsachen
Landesgerichtsstr. 11, 1080 Wien
(1 stop to & from Schottentor (U2) with Tram 43 and 44).
End of demonstration!
The honourable Judge,
I want to use this medium to appeal to you to carefully look into the case of Joshua Esosa and set him free for he has been unjustly sentenced for crimes he never commited.
Attached to this appeal are signatures of supporters pleading for the freedom of Joshua Esosa by restoring his rights as a free man.
Thank you very much.
for concerned supporters.