A 34-year-old Danish man has been jailed in Austria for an assault on an Afghan family, Danish news site Dagens.dk reported.
The attack took place at a train station in the city of Payerbach, located south of Vienna. Upon arrest at the Dane's home, local police recovered several illegal items related to Nazism.
In an incident that occurred last week, the Danish man left the train and saw the family at the station and proceeded to assault them using pepper spray.
One eye witness, Norbert Mang, a volunteer helping asylum seekers, told dagens.dk that the attack was clearly deliberate.
“A pale man with a small moustache stepped off the train. I greeted him kindly whilst helping the Afghan family off the train, but he did not answer me. Instead he went directly toward the father in the family and pepper sprayed him in the face,” he said.
Mang said that he himself was hit by the pepper spray.
“It really made my eyes hurt, and we fell to the ground while the children screamed,” he told Dagens.dk.
The Austrian Public Prosecutor has stated that the Danish neo-Nazi is pleading not guilty to charges of assault.
The Danish man moved to Austria in 2010 and became well known within the neo-Nazi community in Vienna, according to the report.
He had previously studied history and chemistry at University in Austria, but was sentenced in January this year to two years in custody due to glorifying Nazi ideology. In one Facebook post he stated “it’s time to fight on behalf of the Nazis”. His Facebook account also featured several other racist and Islamophobic statements.
Neo-Nazi attacks have increased within northern Europe with the influx of refugees, and many experts are becoming concerned with the level of organization, according to German site Der Spiegel.
An asylum centre in eastern Jutland that was recently vandalized with a swastika and a “warning” to residents told public broadcaster DR that he believes the attack was likely inspired by recent events in Germany, where a series of asylum centres have been targeted by arson. The same is also currently happening in Sweden, where more than a dozen fires at housing for refugees have been reported this year.