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CRIME

Teen jailed for 12 years for religious murder

A 17-year-old Afghan boy who stabbed to death a 31-year-old man he met on a German language course has been found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in jail.

Teen jailed for 12 years for religious murder
AMS

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The teenager, who came to Austria with his mother and sister in 2013, had claimed he acted in self-defence but a jury unanimously rejected this argument in court in Vienna on Thursday.

The wife of the deceased – a father-of-two including a three-month-old baby – broke down in court after revealing that her husband had been singing a song to her on the phone when he was attacked.

The incident happened in March this year in the district of Liesing in Vienna after the teenager met the older man, also from Afghanistan, on an AMS language course.

A fight broke out between the two of them about music and Islam, with the teenager reportedly telling the 31-year-old musician that he did not listen to music that the Quran does not allow. The older man retorted by insulting the boy's parents and making disparaging remarks about the Quran.

The fight was broken up by the AMS teacher and other students but the teenager returned the next day with two knives, stabbing the victim seventeen times including fatal punctures to his lung and stomach.

In his statement to the police, the teenager said: “I can just deal with the insult to my parents, but religion is very important to me.”

The victim's wife told the court that the family had “fled here from these religious fanatics”, only for her husband to become a victim of a religiously motivated attack.

In his summary to the court, judge Norbert Gerstberger confirmed that the boy had ambushed the victim in a surprise attack, adding that Austria does not tolerate murders due to religious mania.

This is unacceptable in our society,” he said, before sentencing the teenager to 12 years jail time.

 

 

 

 

 

For members

LIVING IN AUSTRIA

What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

It’s always good to know your legal rights when living as a foreigner in Austria - including if you get in trouble with the police.

What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

Getting arrested is probably not high up on a list of must-dos for international residents in Austria, but it’s not a bad idea to know what would happen if you did.

In a nutshell, the process in Austria is similar to most other countries in that you have to be suspected of committing a crime to be arrested.

But what happens next? What are your rights? And how long can someone be held in custody?

Here’s what you need to know.

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: What cyclists and drivers in Austria need to know about new rules

When can someone be arrested in Austria?

If someone is suspected of being a criminal, they can be arrested by the police and taken to a police station for questioning. 

Under the Austrian Code of Criminal Procedure, suspects must be informed of their rights as soon as possible, or at the very least before being interrogated by the police.

They also have a right to remain silent or to make a statement, as well as consult a lawyer.

According to Vienna-based attorney Evert Vastenburg, the initial detainment after arrest can last up to 48 hours while a judge decides whether a person should remain in custody or not.

A suspect can then be released on bail or under certain conditions, such as handing over a passport to police.

However, those suspected of serious crimes that typically lead to a prison sentence of 10 years or more (if found guilty) are almost always remanded in custody.

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

When is someone remanded in custody?

To be refused bail and remanded in custody, there must be serious suspicion that another crime could be committed. 

The judge also must believe there is no other way to deal with the suspect. For example, he/she needs to be readily available to the authorities for questioning.

Another valid reason to keep someone in custody past the initial 48 hours is the risk of someone absconding. In fact, Vastenburg says a flight risk is often assumed with people that do not live and work in Austria.

Other reasons to deny a suspect release are a risk that evidence will be destroyed, witnesses will be contacted, or there is a possibility that further crimes will be committed.

What happens if bail is denied?

If bail is denied and a person must be held in custody for more than 48 hours, they have to be legally represented by a lawyer.

If a suspect can’t afford to hire a lawyer, they will be appointed a Verfahrenshilfe (public defender) by the state.

The case will be then reviewed by a judge on a regular basis to decide if custody should continue.

The first review will take place after 14 days, then at one month and every two months, but a suspect can petition for release at any time.

READ ALSO: Six tourist scams to be aware of in Austria

How many foreigners are in Austrian prisons?

According to data from the Austrian Judiciary, the number of foreigners in Austrian jails as of June 1st 2022 was 4,332 – almost 50 percent of all prisoners.

In relation to the statistics, the Austrian Judiciary states: “The high proportion of foreigners is one of many challenges for the Austrian penal system. 

“In particular, with regard to successful rehabilitation, the fastest possible transfer to the countries of origin is encouraged.

The most common nationality of foreign prisoners in Austria is Romanian, followed by people from the former Yugoslavian states, Hungary, Nigeria and Turkey.

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