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CRIME

Aliyev confession deemed ‘a forgery’

According to a report in the Kronen Zeitung newspaper that was confirmed to the Austrian Press Association by the Vienna public prosecutor, the alleged written confession of the Kazakh murder suspect, former ambassador Rakhat Aliyev, is believed to be a forgery.

Aliyev confession deemed 'a forgery'
Rakhat Aliyev. Photo: APA (HBF/Dragan Tatic/Archiv)
The confession was therefore discredited as a piece of evidence in the murder case against Aliyev.  "According to the report it is assumed that the confession is a forgery," said spokeswoman Nina Bussek. 
 
The controversial document was obtained as the result of a search of Aliyev's residence.  
 
The confession admits to participation in the murder of the two Kazakh bankers who worked for the bank of which Aliyev was a part owner.
 
The Austrian federal prosecutor requested the testimony of a professional graphologist, who has submitted in a report that the handwriting is unlikely to belong to Aliyev.
 
Nevertheless, the prosecution maintains it has a strong case against the former ambassador.  "The firm suspicion is based on additional evidence," said Bussek. Some of that additional evidence includes an intercepted Skype call, which undermines his alibi for the murders.
 
Aliyev is the former son-in-law of autocratic ruling Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. He fell out of favor and was sentenced in 2008 in absentia for murder.
 
Austria has twice refused extradition requests from Kazakhstan because of concerns about the rule of law and the fairness of the trial in the Central Asian former-Soviet republic.
 
Therefore, the Austrian justice department has decided to conduct its own investigation into the murders, as well as a related case of money laundering.
 
The Vienna public prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Aliyev in May.  Aliyev, who was living with his Austrian wife in Malta, was arrested when he returned to Austria in June.
 
Aliyev is currently awaiting trial in an Austrian prison, where his lawyer has claimed he is being subjected to threats, extortion and intimidation.

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CRIME

EXPLAINED: What to do if you experience online abuse in Austria

Following the suicide of an Austrian doctor who received threats from Covid-19 anti-vaccination activists, the government has now launched a new campaign to help victims of online abuse.

EXPLAINED: What to do if you experience online abuse in Austria

The Austrian medical community was left in shock in July when Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, a local doctor in Seewalchen am Attersee in Upper Austria, took her own life following months of online abuse.

Kellermayr, 36, had been targeted by anti-vaccination activists and Covid-19 conspiracy theorists for her out-spoken support of vaccines, and the abuse even included death threats. 

Her death prompted candlelight vigils and demonstrations in Vienna and the tragic story was picked up by news outlets around the world.

READ MORE: How Austria’s attempt to make vaccines mandatory changed the country

This led to calls for tighter laws against online bullying and the ability for perpetrators to be prosecuted in other EU countries – particularly as at least two of the people who are believed to have targeted Kellermayr are based in Germany, according to the Guardian.

The Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) has even called for the creation of a special public prosecutor’s office to deal with “hate-on-the-net”, but this has been rejected by prosecutors and other political parties, as reported by ORF.

Instead, the Federal Justice Department has launched a new information campaign, website and hotline to help people dealing with online abuse.

FOR MEMBERS: What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

What is in the new campaign?

Austria’s Justice Minister Alma Zadic (Greens) said they have launched the campaign to raise awareness about the issue and to inform victims about the support available.

Zadic said: “It is important to me that those affected know that they are not alone in this situation and that the judiciary supports them with free psychological and legal process support.”

“You don’t have to cope alone with the extraordinary burdens that criminal proceedings can entail, for example through confrontation with the perpetrators.”

READ ALSO: Austria in shock over doctor’s suicide following anti-vax abuse

Part of the support package is the new website Hilfe bei Gewalt (Help with Violence), which details how to access help from the authorities, as well as secure free legal advice and representation from a lawyer.

The website states the service is for victims of bullying and/or hate online, defamation, stalking, terrorism, incitement, sexual violence and robbery.

The service is designed to be anonymous with options to contact the Justice Department by phone or via a chat box. The website also lists contact details for regional support services in all provinces across Austria. 

The free (kostenlos) hotline for Hilfe bei Gewalt is 0800 112 112.

Useful links

Hilfe bei Gewalt

Austrian Federal Justice Department

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