End the attack on freedom of expression! End the trial against me!

End the attack on freedom of expression! End the trial against me!

2. November 2020
Petition an
Marta Cartabia (Ministra della Giustizia) und an 4 mehr
127.187 Unterschriften:Nächstes Ziel: 150.000
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Warum ist diese Petition wichtig?

Gestartet von Alexander Schiebel


My name is Alexander Schiebel. In 2017, I wrote the book and made the documentary “The Miracle of Mals”. It is about the community of Mals in South Tyrol. This community wanted to become the first pesticide-free community in Europe. In response, South Tyrol's apple companies and the province of South Tyrol itself tried to prevent this. South Tyrol's provincial government and the two large apple companies in the country are now dragging me and others to court in Bolzano because we have criticized the high level of pesticide use in South Tyrol.
This attack on freedom of expression is directed not just against me, but against all pesticide critics and environmental activists, and it’s a problem not only in South Tyrol, but everywhere in Europe. The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, classifies the complaints of defamation in South Tyrol against me, my German publisher Jacob Radloff and against Karl Bär from the Munich Environmental Institute as judicial abuse. In a comment published on October 27, 2020, she cites the lawsuits, initiated by the South Tyrolean provincial Government, against critics of the high level of pesticide use in the region as an example of so-called SLAPP lawsuits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).
In South Tyrol, the apple industry has an annual turnover of 750 million euros. Every tenth apple consumed in Germany and Europe comes from the region. While the corporations make the profit, we pay the price: many of the pesticides used are carcinogenic, damage the genetic make-up or the nervous system and impair our hormonal balance. Pesticides are contributing to the unprecedented extinction of species, which is a major threat to mankind around the world.
But criticizing pesticides is, it seems, a criminal offense in South Tyrol. I now have to answer in court for defamation.
The real purpose of the lawsuit against me is to intimidate me, and to waste a lot of time and money – I now have to pull a five-digit amount out of my pocket every year for legal costs, which will ruin me financially. My accusers, the Province of South Tyrol and the two big apple companies can easily endure this process that might take years. But sooner or later, they are hoping that I will lack the strength or the financial means to do this. If I do accept a conviction without resistance, there will be 1,600 fruit growers, encouraged by the apple companies, who could sue me for damages. This would result in a million-dollar judgment that would definitely ruin me.
But if this suit succeeds, then it would set a dangerous precedent where environmental critics are silenced and the world is lost to climate change and the mass extinction of species. Therefore, it is not surprising that more than 100 NGOs from 18 countries have declared their solidarity with us. They are outraged by this attack on critics of the South Tyrolean apple industry. Process observers from the European Parliament and the German Bundestag have also announced that they will be closely following the process.
But the South Tyrolean apple companies are not concerned. They rant about a conspiracy by foreign powers. They throw sand in the eyes of the international press with bold lies. In fact, on September 14, the day before the start of the trial in Bolzano, the Regional Councilor for Agriculture, Arnold Schuler, claimed that the trial would be terminated, that it was over, and that the reports would be withdrawn - only to move the pesticide trial forward the following day.  Fourteen days later, the same National Council finally announced its withdrawal from the withdrawal in a new press release. Why? The South Tyrolean apple industry does not like my tone of voice on social media.
I've made a documentary. I wrote a book. This attack upon my freedom of expression must end. I will not be silenced.
Please help:
We demand from Regional Councilor Schuler and from the chairmen of the two large fruit cooperatives, Thomas Oberhofer and Georg Kössler:
End the attack on freedom of expression!
End the trial against me!
We call on the Italian government to take immediate action against SLAPP claims.
Alexander Schiebel

You can find all details about the process here (currently only in German):

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127.187 Unterschriften:Nächstes Ziel: 150.000
Jetzt unterstützen


  • Marta CartabiaMin della Giustizia
  • Marta CartabiaMinistra della Giustizia
  • Arnold SchulerRegional Councilor for Agriculture in South Tyrol
  • Georg Kösslerchairman of the VOG fruit cooperative
  • Thomas Oberhoferchairman of the V.IP fruit cooperative