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Transsexual asylum seeker’s body found

The naked and bound body of a Turkish citizen found on Sunday afternoon after police broke down the door to her apartment has been reported as being a 35-year-old transsexual asylum seeker.

According to a press release from the asylum rights organization Asylum in Need, the transgender woman was not allowed to work, and therefore had turned in desperation to prostitution to support herself. 

The organization criticized the current asylum system, saying that through a "lack of alternatives she was forced to look into the sex trade". 

They further called for basic social support for asylum seekers, "from which one can live and is not forced into the underground economy or sex work".


The victim, 35-year-old Hande Ö.  Photo: Facebook private image

According to an autopsy report from Monday, the victim was most likely strangled. Her hands had been tied behind her back, and she was found naked with a cloth ligature around her neck.

The Austrian Press Association  (APA) spoke to police on Tuesday, who confirmed that they are still engaged in a detailed forensic investigation of the home, to collect trace evidence. They were also able to confirm that the deceased was involved in prostitution.

The murder likely occurred up to two weeks ago. A concerned friend called the police, leading to them forcing their way into the apartment to find the body.

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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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