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Over the last 16 months the state has been investigating the Centre for Political Beauty for the „forming of a criminal organization“

Severe attack on the freedom of art: The state classified the Center for Political Beauty as a criminal organization under §129 of the German Criminal Code. This is a direct violation of the which guarantees the freedom of art. And so, the Center for Political Beauty is denounced as an organization whose primary purpose is to commit serious criminal offences. On a list published by the Government of the state of Thuringia, we find ourselves next to twelve terrorist organizations such as "Islamic State"(ISIS) and "Al Nusra Front".

The State Security division of the Federal Criminal Police Office relocated the state prosecutor responsible for the investigation. Who assumes the political responsibility for this? We need every kind of solidarity to ensure that this break with the constitution does not go unnoticed. Attacking artistic freedom equals attacking the constitution.

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We depend on donations to cover the costs of the legal aftermath. The best way to support us is to become an accomplice (supporting member) in our “criminal art association” just as over 2000 individuals have done all over Germany. We represent the humanistic public! Become an accomplice by donating a minimum of 100€ a year.

The criminal lawyers’ outrage

“Are you aware of any similar case? – No, definitely not.”

Jürgen Möthrath · president of the Association of German Defence Lawyers · DIE ZEIT


“One has to say it three times to truly grasp the madness that lays behind these investigations! I don’t know of a single similar case! I don’t know of any group founded with the intent of seeking intellectual debate that has been persecuted according to paragraph 129.”

Peter Raue · lawyer and notary · Deutschlandfunk

“Usually § 129 is used to investigate rocker gangs and drug cartels. This type of investigations on suspicion of forming of a criminal organisation requires especially heavy offences – like murder, homicide, robbery, rape, drug traffic - to have been committed or at least planned. They entail a very intensive access to the suspects. […] It seems as if the Gera state prosecutor, personified in prosecutor Zschächer, is acting as a henchman for Höcke. It seems as if the law is being bent.”

Heribert Prantl · jurist and publicist · Süddeutsche Zeitung

“Contrary to popular opinion, the fact that the state prosecutor is bound by directives is by no means undemocratic or unlawful. The state prosecutor has an executive role and is responsible to the political leaders! Governmental inactivity is also political action.”

Henning Ernst Müller · Professor of Criminal Law · Twitter


“Pretty mad and highly topical. Never before has this paragraph been used against a group of artists!”

Hartmut Wächtler · lawyer and expert in criminal law · Süddeutsche Zeitung


“As far as I know it has never happened before that art played a role in the formation of a criminal organisation. […] It is a novelty.”

Uwe Scheffler · Professor of Criminal Law · Freie Presse


“Also in the other activities of the centre I cannot identify any indications that would encourage the belief that it was founded with the intent to commit crimes.”

Christoph Möllers · Professor of Constitutional Law · Berliner Zeitung


"The State against Art: This has probably never been done in Germany in this form before!"

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Grönemeyer, Böhmermann and others: Are we supposed to be intimidated?

In a letter (PDF) many celebrities demand a guarantee or rather a “declaration stating that criminal investigations, into what is clearly artistic freedom, will not be launched anymore!” They demand an apology and say: “The accuracy or rather lawfulness of the lawsuit is still not doubted. This is hardly bearable.”

The letter was signed by: Herbert Grönemeyer, Jan Böhmermann, Can Dündar, Deniz Yücel, Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, Fatih Akin, Harald Welzer, Cem Özdemir, Saša Stanišić, Lea Rosh, Dani Levy, Robert Menasse, Sibylle Berg, Sophie Passmann, Matthias Lilienthal, Bela B Felsenheimer, Daniel Richter, Naika Foroutan, Herfried Münkler, Katja Riemann, Katja Kipping, Feine Sahne Fischfilet and many more


"That is why this group of artists is not an artist group. It is a criminal organisation, indeed a terrorist organisation!"

Björn Höcke

What is the State authorized to in connection with Article 129?

Telecommunications surveillance & investigation of written correspondence

Long-term observation & surveillance of contact persons

The use of confidential informants and undercover agents

Creation of movement profiles, dragnet investigation

We need answers

1. Why was the investigation as long as 16 months?

2. Why is it tolerated by the federal government of Thuringia that the Gera state prosecutor takes on the role as lapdog of the AFD?

3. Since when does the Ministry of Justice of Thuringia know about Martin Zschächner’s investigation on suspicion of “forming of a criminal organisation”?

4. How was it possible for Zschächner to sufficiently justify the initiation of the investigation under § 129 to the Minister of Justice who himself had worked as a judge for many years?

5. The invitation of the head of the Centre for Political Beauty as a speaker at the 2019 federal congress of the Federal Agency for Civil Education was cancelled due to a decree of the Ministry of Interior. We are in possession of correspondence between the Ministry of Interior and the Federal Agency for Civil Education dated 31 January 2019 that states that “according to security authorities, criminally relevant findings exist related to the Centre for Political Beauty and its director […].” It seems as if the Ministry of Justice tolerates the criminal prosecution of the Centre for Political Beauty under §129 on suspicion of forming a criminal organisation. Thereby, the Ministry of Interior actively partakes in the attempt at criminalisation instead of ensuring artistic freedom as guaranteed under constitutional law.


Highly criminal art? I have to be a part of it!

Your donation can sustainably support our criminal art association! Not only the Thuringia state prosecutor but also Höcke and Erdogan praise the Centre for Political Beauty in its role as a humanistic assault gun. Be a part of it and become an accomplice. Nowhere else will you receive as much turmoil and dissent for every euro you donate.

"After Björn Höcke already acknowledged us as a terrorist organisation, we now also received the quality label “criminal organisation” by no lesser than the Gena state prosecutor. At the least we are confident that the investigators that were apparently listening in on us for 16 months learned a lesson in lived democracy. Now they can go back to Thuringia and deal with the raging right-wing extremism there."

Center for Political Beauty

The chronological order or events

22.11.2017 The Holocaust Memorial in front of Björn Höcke’s house is extended.

22.11.2017 The President of the Thuringia Landtag (state legislature) admits the following during a session of the parliament: “[…] Therefore I urged the Minister of Interior, during a phone call, to […] launch investigations. Hereby, in the interest of a free exertion of the open mandate, I am asserting public interest in these investigations.” (Video).

25.11.2017 During the Compact conference, Höcke refers to the Centre as a “criminal organisation and also a terrorist organisation”. (Video)

29.11.2017 The state prosecutor Martin Zschächner instigates investigations against the founder of the Centre on suspicion of “forming of a criminal organisation”.

18.03.2018 The Cologne Regional Court passes its judgement on the operation “Holocaust Memorial Bornhagen”. The surveillance of Björn Höcke is therein also confirmed to be an artwork. (AZ 28 O 362/17)

16.11.2018 The Mühlhausen state prosecutor closes the investigation on suspicion of coercion. It can be expected of a public figure (Höcke) “to withstand this sort of conduct with calm self-assertion”, justifies the state prosecutor.

01.03.2019 The Ministry of Interior issues a stage ban for the head of the Centre at the federal congress of the Federal Agency for Civil Education (bpm) to ensure that “criminal investigations“ are not hindered.

08.03.2019 In the name of the regional government of Thuringia, the Minister of Justice of Thuringia signs off a list of 13 terrorist organisations including a “group of performance artists”.

04.04.2019 The Minister of Justice blames the Centre for Political Beauty for the initiation of the investigation: “ The initiation of the investigation proceedings (on suspicion of forming a criminal organisation) was based on the conduct of the Centre for Political Beauty”.

08.04.2019 The Minister of Interior Lauinger closes the investigation procedure with immediate effect and relocates state prosecutor Zschächner from state security.


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