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CRIME

Man in coma since Donau Insel festival

Police in Vienna are seeking witnesses after a 38-year-old man was beaten so badly he had to be put into a medically-induced coma after the Danube Island festival.

Man in coma since Donau Insel festival
Police arrest. File photo: APA

The victim was on his way home from the festival on Sunday June 29th when he became involved in a street fight with around 15 other people at 03:40 am, near to the Thaliastraße U-Bahn station.

He was so badly injured that he had to be put into an artificial coma and has not been able to speak to police.

Police are keen to speak to two young women who witnesses say gave the victim first aid next to the number 46 tram line stop.

Police are also looking for a man, believed to be Polish and called Krystian, who was also injured in the fight and treated in the AKH general hospital before being discharged on the evening of June 29th.

Investigators believe these three people may have important information. Police are asking for any other witnesses or anyone who may have seen or even filmed the fight, to come forward.

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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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