The case of the Berlin-based sociologists, which I posted about last week, has gotten more attention. A website has been created to call for a halt to the criminal investigation, complete with an open letter from other sociologists. In the UK Guardian, Richard Sennett and Saskia Sassen write:
Dr [Andrej] Holm was arrested, flown by helicopter to the German federal court in Karlsruhe and has since been put in (pre-trial) solitary confinement in a Berlin jail. Of course the police may have solid, rational knowledge they are withholding, but their public statements belong more in the realm of farce. Dr Matthias B is alleged to have used, in his academic publications, "phrases and key words" which are also used by a militant group; among these words are "inequality" and "gentrification". The police found it suspicious that meetings took place with German social activists in which our sociologists did not bring their mobile phones; somehow the police deemed this a sign of "conspiratorial behaviour". By an odd twist, though, none of the activists are in jail, only their sociological interviewers.
I don’t have much to add, except that the grounds for arrest that have so far been made public in the arrest warrant do seem flimsy, and that most of the sociologists I know wouldn’t hurt a fly (even though there’s a movie about Pierre Bourdieu called "Sociology is a Martial Art"). Speaking sociologically, I would draw attention to the cognitive distortions contained in many of the comments posted underneath Sennett and Sassen’s piece in the Guardian, though.