Lawyer calls police testimony “untrue” in Tibet activist case

Officer accused of forging suspicion of drug possession that allowed her to search and confiscate a Tibetan flag from an activist

Police violated several laws when they prevented activists from displaying the Tibetan flag during the Chinese president Hu Jintao's visit in Copenhagen in 2012, according to defence lawyer Claus Bonnez.

During last week's City Court hearing in a case involving the police treatment of six Tibet activists, the lawyer called the police testimonies "untrue".

"We have to call it what it is, and in my view there has been given false evidence here in court," Bonnez said in court, according to Politiken newspaper.

Suspected of carrying drugs
Luna Pedersen, one of the six activists detained in June 2012, was standing near the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen with a Tibetan flag in her hands. She wanted to show the Chinese president her support of the resistance against China's policies in Tibet as Jintao and the queen passed the mermaid onboard the royal ship HDMY Dannebrog.

However, a police officer spotted her and, claiming to have a suspicion that she was carrying illegal drugs in her handbag, she detained and searched Pedersen on the spot. The search turned up no drugs.

The female officer confirmed that version of the story to the court, even though she originally wrote in a police report that the suspect was searched because she "wanted to show the flag of Tibet to the Chinese leaders".

The dubious testimony was what led Bonnez, Pedersen's lawyer, to conclude that the police forged the suspicion of drug possession as a pretext to allow them to search her handbag. 

"They created a story about illegal drugs. That is abuse of power, because it's something you say to make the pieces fit together," he said. "After all, it is a bit problematic to arrest someone for waving a Tibetan flag."

Police: allegations are wrong and crude
Five other Tibet-supporting activists also say they were detained and escorted away from various locations that Jintao had planned to visit during his stay in Copenhagen.

But the senior prosecutor for the Copenhagen Police, Klaus Pedersen, rejected the allegation that the police had given untrue statements. He said that that the police doesn't regard the incidents as 'detention' and that the activists were simply directed to a Tibet demonstration at Højbro Plads.

"The police see flags and direct the individuals to the protest. They are in their right to do so. It's not a detention; it's a minor intervention that doesn't prevent anyone from protesting," Pedersen said. 

City Court now has to decide if the treatment of the activists was a violation. The final ruling is due next month.