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Austria's Supreme Court partly overturns Vienna terror attack convictions

The Local Austria
The Local Austria - [email protected]
Austria's Supreme Court partly overturns Vienna terror attack convictions
Armed police officers stand guard by the area where the terrorist attack took place in Vienna, Austria on November, 2020. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Five individuals accused of helping Vienna's terrorist attacker in November 2020 will get a partial retrial after the Austrian Supreme Court overturned their convictions.

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The trial against five accused of helping the Vienna terrorist attacker who killed four people on November 2nd 2020, is set for a partial retrial, Austrian media has reported.

The deadly attack, which happened just hours before the city was set to enter a COVID-19 lockdown, saw a lone gunman open fire in the bustling city centre.

It resulted in the deaths of four civilians, with 23 others sustaining injuries—seven of them critically—alongside a wounded police officer. The assailant, identified as a sympathiser of Islamist terrorist group Isis, was killed by law enforcement.

The initial trial of five individuals accused of backing the terrorist was concluded in February this year and resulted in heavy sentences for the five defendants. 

But following an appeal, Austria's Supreme Court (OGH) partially overturned the convictions of the five defendants for terrorist association and criminal organisation due to a legal instruction error and inadequately specific verdict formulations. 

Nevertheless, the core convictions for contributing to murder, terrorist offences, and other violations under the War Material Act and the Weapons Act remain unchanged.

The Vienna Regional Criminal Court jury will now reconsider the charges of terrorist association and criminal organisation.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: Vienna terror attack was 'only a matter of time'

Terrorism association charges

Regarding the primary charges, a 24-year-old suspected Islamist received a 20-year prison sentence for supporting the assailant from May 2020 until the day of the attack, aiding in selecting the target, and arranging escape plans through obtaining forged documents.

A 29-year-old suspected Isis supporter was sentenced to life imprisonment for allegedly urging the assailant to carry out the attack from July 2020 until the day of the incident and for arranging the weapons, ammunition, and other materials in the assailant's residence.

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A 23-year-old involved in organising the purchase of weapons, connecting the assailant with a weapons dealer, and a 33-year-old, believed to have provided firearms used in the attack, each received significant prison terms. The 23-year-old received 19 years, while the 33-year-old was sentenced to life.

READ ALSO: 'Alarming': Austria passes heavily criticised terrorism law

Two defendants were acquitted of murder involvement but faced two years of imprisonment for membership in the radical Islamic terrorist group IS and dissemination of its propaganda materials.

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