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Austrian charged for inciting hatred against migrants

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Austrian charged for inciting hatred against migrants
Screenshot (August 2015)
10:46 CET+01:00
State prosecutors have charged the chairman of a right-wing group that has links to Austria's Freedom Party with racism and inciting hate against a minority group.

Chairman of Salzburg's Freiheitlichen Akademikerverbandes (Free Union of Academics) Wolfgang Caspart was being investigated following a post that appeared on the group's website last August.

The post called for “work camps” to be established for migrants where they can be kept until they are deported.

Using an outdated and racist word for black people, the post also said that millions were on their way from Africa to Europe, “bringing their ignorance”, “illiteracy” and “their hate of whites”.

They called for a "phased plan" to begin the deportation of migrants out of Austria.

Prosecutors in Salzburg decided this week to charge the 69-year-old with inciting hate, as he was the administrator of the page, and say the trial will begin May 23rd.

Caspart has denied any wrong-doing.

The Free Union of Academics has links with Austria's Freedom Party (FPÖ), who support introducing restrictions on immigration into Austria. The party made efforts, however, to distance themselves from the group after the post caused outrage when it was published last August at the height of the summer's refugee crisis.

“Neither the content not the choice of words regarding the so-called ‘phased plan' are in line with Freedom Party,” said the head of the regional branch of the FPÖ Andreas Schöppl.

The charges follow the introduction earlier this year of stronger penalties for publishing content that incites hatred, now punishable by a jail sentence of up to three years, extended from two.

The stronger punishments have not yet been used, however, as the first two incitement cases that have appeared in court since the changes were made were not deemed serious enough.

In one case, the judge ruled that a defendant had been exercising ‘freedom of expression' in a post that called for all Syrians to be sent back so they could be ‘bombed all at once'.

The same person had also posted an image of a dancing black child at Austria's refugee centre Traiskirchen near a picture of Hitler and the words: “You are funny, I'll gas you last.”

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