Free Renata Zelazna Letter Appeal

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Free Renata Zelazna Letter Appeal

Messagepar cdrk » Mer Mai 12, 2010 18:45:13

Free Renata Zelazna Letter Appeal

Renata is a Polish vegan anarchist some of us know from when she was living in Brighton. She had recently been studying in Holland and is now through an unfortunate chain of events in prison, where she is suffering from horrendous treatment and fearing for her future, and who needs our support.

A demolition site next door to her flat had been causing hassle for the occupants of her student accommodation, with asbestos contamination and cracks appearing in their walls. Renata complained about it but to no effect, and when they brought in a new very loud machine she went down to the site to complain. The argument became physical as the driver swung the machine around so that it almost hit her and another builder pushed her to the ground, and Renate threw some rubble at them. At this point they said they would call the police, to which she replied, “Good do that so I can complain about the nuisance”.

When the police called on her a little while later they immediately announced that she was being arrested for destroying machinery. She couldn't believe they were actually serious, and tried to just continue making her dinner, but the male police officer stepped in trying to stop her, proclaiming “I will use violence”. She began to panic because she had nowhere to escape. She grabbed the knife she had been using to prepare her dinner and pointed it at him, trying to make him step back. She did not try to stab him, she just wanted him to keep his hands off her, acting from a survival instinct. He grabbed it off her and then pepper sprayed her in the face, followed by dragging her out and the female police officer searched her flat without a warrant while she was held down. They picked her up by her arms and trousers and carried her down the stairs head first, and all throughout her arrest she was manhandled; they also pulled her trousers down in the car with nothing she could do about it.

When in the cell they took her trousers off completely and locked her up for two days. She had bruising just above her pubic bone and had marks and a cut from the cuffs. She was having her period, but there was no toilet in her cell and she was given no sanitary products, and she had to go to the toilet on her cell floor. She was hardly given any water, none at all on the second day, and when she asked for some they told her to “Fuck off”. Although she told them she was vegan they kept throwing meat into her cell to torment her and beat her hands when she pushed it back out. She saw a female duty solicitor who was helpful and found her a support group for vegans in prison. After two days in custody a judge came and she had a hearing through the cell window, where she found she was being charged with attempted murder.

She was then moved to a prison and put in a cell, this time with a toilet. They took her top and bra off and gave her an awful dress, some water and Oxazepam (a benzodiazepine used for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia and in the control of symptoms of alcohol withdrawal). She was brought food the next day. She spent another 2 or 3 days in isolation on suspicion of having tuberculosis because she was Polish, which she has been inoculated against as most people in Poland are. She told them that X-rays cause cancer and that she was very unhappy to have it done to her but she was forced to have an X-ray of her chest to be allowed into the normal cells.

Now she is in the normal cells in pre-trial detention. She could get 6 years upwards for attempted murder. She has missed her exams and lost her job. She will now have to pay back her student grant and for the language course, both were free only if she kept attending. There are services to help people save their jobs and housing but since she is not Dutch she does not qualify, although she was paying taxes in that country.

She had a very short court hearing recently for 15 minutes where she was not told her sentence but told that she was a danger to the public and needed to be locked up, and that she caused a disturbance to public order.

Renata said in her letter, “He came into my home and threatened me with violence. I picked up the knife without thinking about what I was doing. Do I really deserve 6 years for trying to save my life? Is this justice? I received a beating, I was starved, refused water, tormented, ridiculed, kept in isolation, X-rayed and now locked up. When I am released I will have no education, no where to go, I will be in debt, mentally disturbed and physically destroyed. All because I wanted some peace and quiet in a flat I was paying a lot of rent for. I have lost all hope, I look in the mirror and see death in my eyes. I have lost weight. I'm just skin and bones. I don't know if I'm alive any more”.

Please write letters of support to:

Renata Zelazna
Penitentiare Inrichting Ter Peel
T.A.V. Renata Zelazna 7138606 cel 1/10
Paterstraat 4
5977 NM Evertsoord

There's a "Free Renata Zelazna" page on Facebook now that people can join where updates about her will be added:

plus this website:

Please write to the Dutch Government to complain about what has happened to Renata and demand her release:

E.M.H. Hirsch Ballin, Minister of Justice
Postbus 20301
2500 EH Den Haag
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