Austria: Syrian girl killer tries to get a lenient sentence

It was a case that triggered off nationwide great horror: The 16-year-old Manuela K. had presumably been brutally murdered by her Syrian ex-boyfriend Yazan A. He now wants to legally defend himself against the maximum sentence imposed…

In the aftermath, increasingly gruesome details had become known: For Yazan A. (20 years old) is said to have strangled Manuela out of jealousy not only with a belt. He is also said to have raped her body before burying it in a heap of leaves in Wodica Park in Wiener Neustadt. The indictment at the time implied that he had vaginal intercourse with the dead woman and ejaculated on her corpse – the magazine Wochenblick reported on the disgusting details of the case in autumn.Hours after the crime, the police arrested the fugitive Syrian in Vienna, and the first trial followed in October.The suspect denied the killing at first, speaking of an accident in which the girl fell unhappily onto the park bench. Yazan A. did not say why he himself would not have called for help in such a case. Those who hoped for a repentant confession were disappointed. The court considered his guilt as proven, after hours of deliberation the jury’s verdict followed: 15 years imprisonment with the subsequent committal to an institution for mentally abnormal lawbreakers. At the beginning of the trial, the expert witness had certified a “personality development disorder with emotionally unstable, narcissistic and dissocial components”.His lawyer Andreas Reichenbach, however, lodged an immediate appeal against this ruling, and the second hearing will take place on the 26th of June before the Higher Regional Court (OLG) of Vienna. The legal counsel primarily argues that his client was allegedly blameless before the cruel act. Therefore, the “maximum penalty was disproportionate”.At that time the crime led to a broad condolence, about 500 people came to a funeral service despite the icy temperatures. The curious thing about it is that because political right wingers also mobilized to the commemoration, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution also attended the event. Despite its integrity – which applies to convictions of less than half a year or a penalty of 180 daily fine rate – Yazan A. was known to the police even before the crime. According to media reports, Yazan A. was already known to the authorities, and a procedure to withdraw his asylum status was pending.Already in 2017 and 2018, according to the newspaper Krone, a court sentenced him to fines for assault.

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