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CRIME

Teenage murder victim identified

A body found in Hungary, close to the Austrian border, has been confirmed as that of a missing 16-year-old from Carinthia who was allegedly shot on the night of June 22nd by a friend in Graz.

Teenage murder victim identified
The body was buried near the Austrian border in Szentgotthard-Rabafüzes. Photo: APA/ERWIN SCHERIAU

A spokesman for the public prosecutor's office in Graz, Hans Jörg Bacher, said that fingerprints and external features had matched the identity of the missing teenager, and that there was no doubt that it was the body of Marcel S.

A forensic autopsy revealed that he died after being shot in the head. A bullet was also found, and will be examined by a ballistics team.

Sebastian S, also 16, was arrested after Marcel’s murder in a middle-class area of Graz.

According to media reports he has confessed to the crime and said that he shot Marcel after his friend tried to force him, at gunpoint, to rape a 14-year-old girl with whom they were spending the evening.

The prosecutor's office has said that this “is one version of the events” but have not confirmed any details.

The testimony of the 14-year-old girl will be crucial for the prosecution but she is reportedly severely traumatised and is currently being cared for in a psychiatric clinic – and has so far not been in a fit state for a police interview.

Sebastian’s grandfather has also been arrested for allegedly helping him to bury the body and to cover up the crime.

 

CRIME

Austrian people smuggler jailed over deaths of Syrians in minivan

An Austrian court on Monday sentenced a people smuggler to seven years in prison over the deaths of two Syrians who suffocated in the crammed minivan he was driving, Austria's news agency reported.

Austrian people smuggler jailed over deaths of Syrians in minivan

The bodies of the two men were discovered last October when Austrian authorities stopped and searched a van at the border with Hungary.

Thirty people in total were crammed in the vehicle, whose driver fled the scene but was later arrested in Latvia and extradited.

The 19-year-old Latvian was found guilty of people smuggling and causing fatal injuries, but was not found guilty of murder, APA reported.

READ MORE: Austrian police warn public about new ‘fake cops’ scam

He said he would accept the verdict, but the prosecution can still appeal it, APA said.

A court spokeswoman could not immediately be reached by AFP. 

Austria’s interior ministry announced in May that police had smashed a group believed to have smuggled tens of thousands of mostly Syrians, including the two found suffocated, from Hungary to Austria.

A total of 205 people suspected to be linked to the group have been arrested in central and eastern Europe, the ministry said.

Those smuggled, including children, were trying to reach western European countries, including Germany and France.

The October discovery of the dead men recalled a dire event in August 2015 when 71 people from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan suffocated in the back of an air-tight van where they had been hidden by people smugglers.

The bodies, including those of three children and a baby, were discovered in Austria but they had died while still on the other side of the border.

Almost four years later, the Hungarian courts sentenced their smugglers to life imprisonment.

The emotion aroused by that tragedy triggered a brief opening of the borders to hundreds of thousands of people wishing to reach Western Europe.

But Austria and other European countries have since fortified borders to stop people smuggling.

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