Doors are broken down with battering rams, and masked commandos, armed and wearing steel helmets, storm apartments, roust young people out of their beds and aim pistols at their heads. The officers hurl computers onto the floor and rummage through beds and closets while frightened children watch. These are not scenes from the war in Iraq, they depict a police raid conducted in Austria in 2008. The activists were charged according to Section 278a, which was intended for fighting organized crime. Having been accused of forming a criminal organization, mere suspicion of property damage was sufficient to jail ten of them. Two years of surveillance, three months of pretrial detention, and confiscation of various materials by the police commandos failed to produce the expected evidence. Despite this fact, the state prosecutor petitioned to prolong the detention, arguing that a particularly secretive criminal organization was involved. The criminal complaint was issued one year later, and because the officers performing the investigation still failed to find evidence supporting reasonable suspicion, special police units observed the accused for weeks, including while they slept. Undercover agents participated in hundreds of events, and the task force persuaded former activists to work as informants. They clandestinely provided the Agency for Internal Security with documents in addition to distributing flyers and helping block animal transports. In all, the investigation cost a total of five million euros, though convincing evidence was never produced.
In Der Prozess Gerald Igor Hauzenberger follows the trial against 13 animal rights activists with his camera. The trial ended with "not guilty". But the accused faced financial ruin.
The movie follows 5 of the accused: how they prepare for advocacy, how they act during the trial, how they manage their life facing five years in prison. Including statements made by several top politicians.Der Prozess