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Asylum seeker rape case judge gets police protection

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Traiskirchen has one of the biggest refugee centres in Austria. Photo: VOA/Wikimedia
14:16 CET+01:00
An Austrian judge who ruled that an 18-year-old asylum seeker who raped a 72-year-old pensioner must serve just 20-months in prison and will not be deported has been placed under police protection after she received death threats.

The Afghan asylum seeker was found guilty of raping the elderly woman on a canal bank in Traiskirchen in Lower Austria. He was 17 at the time of the incident and the maximum penalty for rape under the juvenile justice system is five years behind bars.

However, the judge considered several mitigating factors - such as the fact that he confessed after being arrested and didn't have a previous criminal record. As the jail sentence is less than three years he will not be deported once he has been released.

The attack took place on September 1, 2015 but police didn't reveal it at the time because of the sensitivity of the case. Once it became public and the verdict was announced the case attracted wide public interest with many people commenting that the punishment was too light.

Previously only judges and prosecutors who have taken part in high profile cases involving jihadists have been given police protection, because of fears of reprisal attacks from Islamic State sympathisers.

The vice presidents of the district court in Wiener Neustadt, Birgit Borns and Hans Barwitzius, said the sheer amount of threats directed at the judge was “extremely worrying”.

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“The level of punishment is directly related to the guilt of the offender - regardless of race or nationality,” they told the Kurier newspaper, adding that a judge must impose a sentence within the legally prescribed framework.

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