South Tyrolean State Council upholds complaint against pesticide rebels
by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)
In September, the South Tyrolean provincial councilor Arnold Schuler wanted to withdraw his lawsuits against Karl Baer and Alexander Schiebel. Now he has changed his mind. At the end of November the trial will be continued.
In mid-September, shortly before the start of the trial, South Tyrolean State Councilor Arnold Schuler announced that he wanted to withdraw his lawsuits against Karl Bär of the Munich Environmental Institute and author Alexander Schiebel. Now he backed out. The lawsuits remain, and the trial will continue at the end of November.
Schuler explained to the South Tyrolean media that the other side had "shown no will to reach an out-of-court settlement". The actions as well as e-mails and videos of the defendants, which were distributed during the settlement talks, had led to the conclusion that an out-of-court settlement was basically unwanted, Schuler told the Neue Südtiroler Tageszeitung.
"When I see what has happened in the social media since then, I, the fruit industry and the farmers' associations do not have the impression that our peace offer is taken seriously and that the other side has the intention to settle the matter peacefully", Schuler is quoted in the Tagblatt Dolomiten.
"The discussions between the lawyers of the two parties failed against differently-sounding statements because the plaintiffs wanted to stop the informational work about the high use of pesticides in South Tyrol", the Munich Environmental Institute explained contrarily. Schuler's lawyers had set conditions for the withdrawal of the charges.
"Provincial Councillor Schuler wanted to nail us to withhold important data on pesticide use in South Tyrol from the public," explained Karl Baer. This shows how much the minister and the South Tyrolean apple lobby are afraid that the truth about pesticide use on South Tyrolean fruit plantations will come to light. "We will never let anyone muzzle us," said Bär.
Schuler and over 1300 farmers had sued Bär and Schiebel for libel. The two judged the trial as an attempt to silence critics and initiated a successful campaign that made the state council and his fruit growers look bad.