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CRIME

Innsbruck teen dies after fatal drug overdose

A 15-year-old girl has died in Innsbruck, a week after she was found slumped in a stairwell after a suspected cocaine overdose.

Innsbruck teen dies after fatal drug overdose
A view of Innsbruck. Photo: Dnalor01/Wikimedia

Police are questioning two Syrian men who are suspected of having given her the drugs, and then failing to take her to hospital when she lost consciousness. 

The girl was discovered in a stairwell on September 27th. Medics were able to resuscitate her but she died in hospital on Sunday of what toxicology reports indicate was a drug overdose.

Shortly after she was found police brought a Syrian man in for questioning in relation to the case. The 22-year-old told officers that he and a friend had watched through a window and seen two Moroccan men moving the girl to the stairwell.

But in subsequent interrogations, police found the Syrian’s story to be unreliable and a second Syrian man was questioned. They eventually admitted that the girl had taken drugs and alcohol in their apartment. They had moved her outside when she lost consciousness as they were afraid they would get in trouble with the police.

Both the men have been granted asylum, and according to a report in the Krone newspaper are blaming one another for the girl’s death.

According to the spokesman for the Innsbruck prosecutor, Hansjörg Mayr, the men are suspected of giving narcotic drugs to a minor and of failure to assist a wounded person. 

CRIME

Austrian people smuggler jailed over deaths of Syrians in minivan

An Austrian court on Monday sentenced a people smuggler to seven years in prison over the deaths of two Syrians who suffocated in the crammed minivan he was driving, Austria's news agency reported.

Austrian people smuggler jailed over deaths of Syrians in minivan

The bodies of the two men were discovered last October when Austrian authorities stopped and searched a van at the border with Hungary.

Thirty people in total were crammed in the vehicle, whose driver fled the scene but was later arrested in Latvia and extradited.

The 19-year-old Latvian was found guilty of people smuggling and causing fatal injuries, but was not found guilty of murder, APA reported.

READ MORE: Austrian police warn public about new ‘fake cops’ scam

He said he would accept the verdict, but the prosecution can still appeal it, APA said.

A court spokeswoman could not immediately be reached by AFP. 

Austria’s interior ministry announced in May that police had smashed a group believed to have smuggled tens of thousands of mostly Syrians, including the two found suffocated, from Hungary to Austria.

A total of 205 people suspected to be linked to the group have been arrested in central and eastern Europe, the ministry said.

Those smuggled, including children, were trying to reach western European countries, including Germany and France.

The October discovery of the dead men recalled a dire event in August 2015 when 71 people from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan suffocated in the back of an air-tight van where they had been hidden by people smugglers.

The bodies, including those of three children and a baby, were discovered in Austria but they had died while still on the other side of the border.

Almost four years later, the Hungarian courts sentenced their smugglers to life imprisonment.

The emotion aroused by that tragedy triggered a brief opening of the borders to hundreds of thousands of people wishing to reach Western Europe.

But Austria and other European countries have since fortified borders to stop people smuggling.

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