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Drive-by 'shooters' forced asylum seekers onto ground

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Drive-by 'shooters' forced asylum seekers onto ground
A blank-firing gas pistol. Photo: Creative Commons/Andrew Toskin
10:01 CEST+02:00
Two brothers who said they were just testing an air pistol when they shot blanks at asylum seekers are being charged with aggravated coercion after witnesses said they actually forced the men onto the ground.

The incident happened in July in the city of Eisenstadt in Burgenland in eastern Austria when an 18-year-old leaned out of the passenger seat of a car he was travelling in with his brother and fired a blank-firing gun.

According to police it was in the direction of two asylum seekers from Iraq, aged between 20 and 25-years-old, who happened to be walking past at that moment. Neither of them were hurt in the incident.

After the teenager was tracked down by police, he told investigators that he had not wanted to hurt or threaten anyone - including the asylum seekers - and had simply been trying out the gun.

But witnesses told police the two brothers actually used the gun to make the two asylum seekers get down on the ground, state prosecutor Johann Fuchs told bvz.at.

As a result of the witness statements, police are now charging the two brothers with aggravated coercion rather than making a dangerous threat.

The charges were brought against the brothers a few days ago, Fuchs confirmed, but a date for the trial has not yet been set.

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