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CRIME

Suspects arrested in Austrian nun murder

South African police said on Tuesday they had arrested three people for the rape and murder of an 86-year-old nun of Austrian origin nearly two weeks ago.

Suspects arrested in Austrian nun murder
The Sacred Heart Home convent in Ixopo. Photo: www.mariannhill.de

Sister Gertrud Tiefenbacher, from the Sacred Heart Home Convent in the village of Ixopo, southwest of Durban, was found murdered in her room after being suffocated with a towel, and her hands tied with an electric typewriter cord.

Police said the three male suspects, aged between 25 and 35, would appear in a local magistrate's court on Wednesday on murder, robbery and rape charges.

"They were found in possession of some of the stolen property which were positively identified as property belonging to the victim," police said in a statement.

"It is alleged that foreign currency had been taken from Tiefenbacher's room. It is also suspected that the victim was raped before she was killed."

Austrian-born Tiefenbacher was buried on Monday in Ixopo after a church service at Sacred Heart, where she worked as a school secretary and administration officer for 40 years.

Her family in Austria were unable to attend the funeral, according to a report by News 24.

The service was attended by fellow sisters and former pupils.

The killing shocked the small village, which was the setting for South African author Alan Paton's novel "Cry the Beloved Country".

"We still cannot believe she is gone but she is in the Lord's hands now. She did not deserve to die this way," one nun told News 24.

Tiefenbacher moved to South Africa 50 years ago to work for the Roman Catholic Church.

CRIME

Austria probes claim spyware targeted law firms and banks

Austria said Friday that it was investigating a report that an Austrian company developed spyware targeting law firms, banks and consultancies in at least three countries.

Austria probes claim spyware targeted law firms and banks

Microsoft’s security team earlier this week said it found that a malware called Subzero — developed by Vienna-based company DSIRF — was deployed in 2021 and 2022.

“Observed victims to date include law firms, banks and strategic consultancies in countries such as Austria, the United Kingdom and Panama,” it wrote in a blog entry on Wednesday.

Austria’s interior ministry said it had not received reports of any incidents.

READ ALSO: Austria wary of cyber attacks after personal data of foreign residents leaked online

“Of course, (intelligence agency) DSN checks the allegations. So far, there is no proof of the use of spy software from the company mentioned,” it said in a statement.

Austria’s Kurier newspaper cited DSIRF as saying that Subzero had not been misused and “was developed exclusively for use by authorities in EU states” and was not commercially available.

DSIRF did not immediately return a request for comment from AFP.

Austria’s interior ministry said it knew of the company but “has not had any business relationships” with it.

Last year several media outlets reported that governments around the world, including in the EU, had used Pegasus spyware made by Israel’s NSO Group to spy on opponents.

Budapest and Warsaw responded that the use of Pegasus was for legitimate national security reasons.

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