Berlin Drag King Arrested in North Dakota
Lawyer Claims Human Right Violated
Antonio Caputo is a popular Berlin performer and drag king, with a decade of experience at home and abroad. Since mid-August, he has been on tour with
American artists in North Dakota, performing at two charity events, free of charge.
On Sunday, September 15, 2002, at 3 o'clock in the morning, he was arrested by police and put into solitary confinement in the town of Cavalier, North Dakota. The charge is allegedly working without a work permit. However, it must also be noted that homosexuality is still illegal in North Dakota; it is hoped that the charge will not be expanded to this issue.
Since the day of his jailing, he has been in a cold, permanently dark cell. His basic human rights, as defined by the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR), have been violated.
The minimal requirements regarding the respect of human dignity (ACHR Article 11) have been undermined in every respect. Instructions were given over loudspeaker only; personal enquiries were ignored; and no information was given as to what was going to happen. He was also filmed while taking a shower. He was not allowed to change his clothes for five days. Until Wednesday, September 26, 2002, he was not once allowed to get fresh air; that was for eleven days. There was no light in the cell.
On Tuesday, Antonio fell ill with bronchitis, which became acute sinusitis. Even upon his request, he was not given a second blanket in the jail at Cavalier. On September 18, 2002, he was allowed to see a doctor; he was given antibiotics, which failed to cure the sinusitis.
This is a violation of ACHR Article 5, concerning the right to humane treatment and physical integrity.
On September 26, 2002, Antonio was transferred to the town of Elk River. According to information provided by the German Foreign Office in Berlin, the transfer itself was an ordeal. Antonio was in chains. As the transfer took more than a day, he had to sleep on a bare stone floor, despite his illness. The German Consulate in Chicago has lodged a complaint in this matter (responsible representive: Mr. Einheuser).
In addition, basic procedural rights have been violated. Up until now, Antonio has not been presented to a judge, as stipulated by ACHR Article 7 Paragraph 6. The German Foreign Office informed me that this could take another two or three weeks. However, the ACHR stipulates immediateness. (Pressure from the German Consulate can do little to change this; at present, they are little more than petitioners in the USA).
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND SUPPORT, please contact:
Manuela Sissy Kraus
lawyer and editor at
Radio Rainbow City
American Convention on Human Rights (1978):