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Austrian court approves incest rapist Fritzl's transfer to regular jail

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Austrian court approves incest rapist Fritzl's transfer to regular jail
A file picture from 2009 shows Austrian Josef Fritzl before trial. Photo: SAMUEL KUBANI / AFP

An Austrian court said Tuesday it had approved the transfer of incest rapist Josef Fritzl to a regular jail as the 89-year-old was now unlikely to commit a crime.

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Fritzl, who has changed his name, repeatedly raped his daughter he locked in a cellar for over 24 years, fathering seven children with her.

Served with a life sentence in 2019, Fritzl has been held in jail for the mentally ill who pose a high degree of danger in Krems, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) northwest of Vienna.

In a ruling published Tuesday, the Krems regional court said Fritzl "can be transferred... to normal detention" since he "no longer poses a danger that requires placement" in a jail psychiatric unit.

It noted Fritzl's "advanced dementia and physical decline" and said he was "no longer likely to commit a criminal offence with serious consequences".

It also set a 10-year probation period.

READ ALSO: Could Austria’s notorious incest rapist Josef Fritzl one day be released?

The decision confirms an initial ruling in January, which was overturned by a higher court in March after prosecutors appealed.

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Monday's ruling follows a hearing on April 30, where updated findings by psychiatric experts were presented.

The verdict can still be appealed within the next two weeks.

Contacted by AFP, Fritzl's lawyer, Astrid Wagner, called the ruling "a big success", adding that she doesn't expect prosecutors to appeal.

"Fritzl could be transferred as soon as the appeal period of two weeks has lapsed," Wagner said, adding that she would apply for a conditional release from jail by 2025.

Fritzl was jailed for the murder by neglect of a newborn baby he fathered with his daughter Elisabeth while holding her in the specially-built basement of his house.

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He was also found guilty of incest, sequestration, grievous assault and 3,000 instances of rape.

 

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