Because these, in their opinion, behaved “too western”, five men and one woman – all Chechen citizens – are said to have systematically persecuted, denounced, threatened or even injured women. The six self-appointed guardians of public morals were arrested and are believed to belong to a hierarchically structured group which, since at least the beginning of the year, has been trying to “remind” Chechen women in Vienna and Linz, and in some cases their partners or families, to behave in accordance with the moral concepts. The police assume that there are both further victims and further perpetrators.The incident became known after a woman concerned had contacted the police. Thereupon other women contacted the police and the police started an investigation. The victims – ten are known so far – reported that a photo in swimwear or a relationship with a person of non-Chechen origin was sufficient for the group to be targeted. If this had occurred, the perpetrators had acted systematically, a police spokesman said on Thursday.First, the members of the group are said to have searched their circle of acquaintances, but also social media. If there were indications of ” wrongdoing”, someone was sent out to talk to the respective woman. If this did not work, family members were also included in the threats, according to the police. Furthermore, pictures of the women are said to have been hung in mosques to denounce them. According to the police, if the women did not give in, further threats and also violence followed, whether at home or at work. According to the police, the crimes were rather initiated by the older members of the group.The “guardians of public morals” known so far are between 19 and 37 years old and are said to have committed the intimidation, but also bodily harm in at least ten cases since about the beginning of the year. After detailed investigations, the five men and the woman were arrested in the night hours of the 17th of June in a coordinated, simultaneous raid at the suspects’ home addresses, according to a statement by the Vienna State Police Department.When officers of the Vienna State Criminal Investigation Department, supported by the special unit Cobra and the task force for combating street crime in Linz, seized mobile phones that had presumably been used for communication in certain messenger services, they seized various gas and alarm guns, knives and 5,000 euros in cash. Whether the weapons were used in the threats to the women, the police could not say on Thursday. However, the suspects are said to have posed with them on social media.The suspected perpetrators were charged with numerous criminal offences, in particular suspicion of multiple assault, coercion and criminal association. The police assume that there are other victims as well as other perpetrators. The investigation is ongoing.
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