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Former minister now a prison librarian

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Former minister now a prison librarian
Strasser during his trial. Photo: APA/Neubauer
16:49 CET+01:00
Austria’s former interior minister Ernst Strasser, who recently started a three year prison sentence for accepting money in exchange for lobbying in Brussels, is now busy helping to run the prison library.

Along with five other inmates and prison guards Strasser is responsible for lending out books, Vienna-Simmering prison warden Josef Schmoll told the Austrian Press Agency.

The prison has between 16,000 and 20,000 books which can be borrowed by 460 inmates. Schmoll said the books, which are a mix of novels, non-fiction titles and text books, have to be ordered with a written note.

Strasser is responsible for processing the orders and handing out the books to inmates. When books are returned he must also check them for any damage. Books which have been badly damaged are removed from the library and replaced with new ones as soon as possible.

Strasser lost a final appeal against his prison sentence in October, although he did manage to get six months knocked off his sentence.

He was secretly filmed in 2010 by undercover reporters from Britain's Sunday Times newspaper saying that he charged €100,000 ($126,800) a year to influence the drawing up of EU laws.

He said that he believed the reporters, who posed as lobbyists wanting to change EU directives on waste management and financial services, were spies and that he is innocent.

After six months behind bars he will be able to apply for house arrest and wear an electronic tag.

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