Austria: acquittals in the process against Identitary movement

Actions at uni, Green Central and Turkish Embassy: IB members had been accused of spreading xenophobic ideology. The court did not follow suit.

Austria: acquittals in the process against Identitary movement

In process against leading representatives of Identitarian Movement Austria (IBÖ), which is considered to be right extreme, all 17 defendants were acquitted on central charges. The Graz District Court rejected a conviction for incitement and formation of a criminal association. Both charges lacked necessary basis, it was said.

The defendants were 16 men and a woman between ages of 20 and 35 years, among m also IBÖ chief Martin Sellers. It has been known in recent years by actions that have been directed against admission of asylum seekers in Austria. Most of defendants were already involved in founding of IBÖ in year 2012.

The accused had been accused of spreading a xenophobic ideology. According to prosecution, defendants carried out numerous provocative actions: In April 2016, Identitary had climbed onto roof of party headquarters of Greens in Graz and had unfurled an anti-Islamic transparent. In March 2017 re was a similar action on roof of Turkish Embassy in Vienna, in which Identitarian a hostile anti-Turkish slogan. In June 2016, Identitarian had also stormed a lecture at University of Klagenfurt, where integration of foreigners was to be promoted. For this action, a defendant was sentenced to a fine for assault and coercion. A second man was convicted in anor case for damage to property.

"Never directed against refugees"

The defender had, however, declared in court that criticism was "never against refugees". "There is a parallel society with us, and re are not Identitarian guilt, but a failed policy for 20, 30 years."

The judgement of Court of Graz now states, among or things, that action at University of Klagenfurt "pointed to dangers of political and radical Islam, and se were given in autumn of 2016". The slogan of IBÖ integration is a lie "not against integration, but against a failed policy". It was also stated in statement of reasons: "If an organisation exercises legal activities in core area, it is not a criminal association, even if it results in criminal offences." The judge furr said that incitement was "uncontroversial", but that meaning was ambiguous, so IBÖ followers were to be acquitted in large part.

As standard reports, judge did not want to be named by name. In statement of reasons, he went into detail on individual actions of IBÖ: for example, transparent "Islamization kills", which was lowered on roof of Graz greens, "No criticism of Islam, but of green policy and Radical Islamism. " One could also doubt that course at University of Klagenfurt, which was disturbed, had goal of promoting integration. "This opinion can be shared, but one does not have to," judge wrote in his explanatory statement.

Warning against criminal convictions

The process has triggered a lot of criticism in Austria. According to standard, many politicians and experts feared that he could move towards criminal law.

The Identitarian see mselves as a youth movement driven by love of home. According to its own information, IBÖ has around 300 active members. In past, Liberal Party of Austria (FPOe), which had been involved in government since end of 2017, was frequently IBÖ. The party leaders repeatedly condemned ir provocative actions.

The identitary movement originated in France years ago, today it is represented in several European countries. It is primarily mobile against an "Islamisation", which is threatening European identity. In Germany, Identitary Movement (IB) is being observed by protection of Constitution.

Date Of Update: 27 July 2018, 12:02

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