Vorarlberg Neo-Nazi convicted

A 27-year-old Vorarlberg man has been found guilty of engaging in National Socialist activities, including operating as a leading member of the group National Action Vorarlberg.

Vorarlberg Neo-Nazi convicted
Swastika symbol and flag. File photo: APA/Henning Kaiser

Sentenced to seven months conditional imprisonment and a €7,200 fine, the man is said to have organized round table meetings and operated a website which disseminated Nazi content. The defendant himself denied the allegations.

The website in question calls for "a non-violent revolution of the mind" and the abolition of democracy, to be replaced by a national community. It also demands freedom for the right-wing radical Gottfried Küssel.

The material was found on the man's computer in his apartment, along with images and symbols reminiscent of and glorifying the Nazi era.

Senior prosecutor Wilfried Siegele found there was clear evidence the defendant was distributing texts and images with Nazi content, against the relevant laws of the Prohibition Act.

During the court process, the young man stressed that terms such as "Heroes Memorial", "Ostmark", and symbols such as the ibex and the number "88" which is used in certain circles as a code for "Heil Hitler", could also be understood in a neutral way.

"Who does something like that?" Siegele asked during the trial.

The site was registered on an American server, where there is no information as to who owns the site.

The whole presentation, the content and symbols are all very clearly Nazi symbols, Siegele told the court.

"There is no doubt that this is a case of re-engagement with National Socialist Activities," said Seigele. "This has nothing to do with freedom of speech."

The three-time offender told the court he was a nationalist and wanted a people's democracy, where the people have more say, instead of the current democracy.

"The goal is the identity of our people."

Judge Peter Mueck questioned the defendant as to which people he was referring to – Germans, or Austrians?

The accused was unanimously found guilty by the jury.

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EXPLAINED: What rules does Austria have on gun ownership?

The country has one of the most permissive gun laws in Europe. However, applicants still need a license and go through evaluations before being allowed to buy a weapon.

EXPLAINED: What rules does Austria have on gun ownership?

As the debate on gun ownership laws is brought back into the headlines after a tragic mass shooting in the United States on May 24th, it might be surprising to read that tranquil and peaceful Austria is also one of Europe’s most permissive countries regarding gun laws.

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READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why is gun ownership in Austria on the rise?

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READ ALSO: ‘I don’t miss the guns’: How Americans feel about living in Austria

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