Four sentenced for neo-Nazi acts

Four young adults from Vorarlberg have been handed suspended sentences for violating the Prohibition Law - which aims to suppress any potential revival of Nazism in Austria.

Four sentenced for neo-Nazi acts
Austrian court room. File photo: APA

Two 18-year-old men, a 17-year-old woman, and a 19-year-old man were all given suspended sentences for taking pictures of themselves making Nazi salutes in public places and singing xenophobic songs.

“We need another Hitler so that the Jews know what’s coming for them,” the only female defendant was quoted as saying when she was arrested. She was sentenced to eight months probation and a €960 fine.

One youth reportedly said that Hitler was “the messiah, he freed the German people”.

The defendants admitted their actions but said that they were very drunk at the time. They have sworn never to repeat them and have said they are willing to do vocational training and look for jobs.

The judge imposed suspended sentences of between eight months and a year. Two of the defendants have been ordered to serve four months in prison, and three were also convicted of burglary, theft, and injury.

Vienna Mayor Michael Häupl has called for a right-wing group calling themselves The Identity Movement to be banned under the Prohibition Act (Verbotsgesetz). 

The law prohibits Holocaust denial as well as the deliberate belittlement of any Nazi atrocities. 

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Austria probes claim spyware targeted law firms and banks

Austria said Friday that it was investigating a report that an Austrian company developed spyware targeting law firms, banks and consultancies in at least three countries.

Austria probes claim spyware targeted law firms and banks

Microsoft’s security team earlier this week said it found that a malware called Subzero — developed by Vienna-based company DSIRF — was deployed in 2021 and 2022.

“Observed victims to date include law firms, banks and strategic consultancies in countries such as Austria, the United Kingdom and Panama,” it wrote in a blog entry on Wednesday.

Austria’s interior ministry said it had not received reports of any incidents.

READ ALSO: Austria wary of cyber attacks after personal data of foreign residents leaked online

“Of course, (intelligence agency) DSN checks the allegations. So far, there is no proof of the use of spy software from the company mentioned,” it said in a statement.

Austria’s Kurier newspaper cited DSIRF as saying that Subzero had not been misused and “was developed exclusively for use by authorities in EU states” and was not commercially available.

DSIRF did not immediately return a request for comment from AFP.

Austria’s interior ministry said it knew of the company but “has not had any business relationships” with it.

Last year several media outlets reported that governments around the world, including in the EU, had used Pegasus spyware made by Israel’s NSO Group to spy on opponents.

Budapest and Warsaw responded that the use of Pegasus was for legitimate national security reasons.