Austria: Court sentences East African serial rapist to just 13 years

A court in Austria has sentenced a 30-year-old migrant from the small East African island of Comoros to a mere thirteen years in prison after he confessed to raping ten women outside a Klagenfurt techno club between 2015 and 2019.

On Thursday, the Klagenfurt Regional Court heard how the man from Comoros sexually assaulted a total of ten victims — all in the area of the Disco Bollwerk on Klagenfurt Südring, Austria’s largest newspaper Kronen Zeitung reports.

Authorities were finally able to identify the serial rapist in early October after a trace of his DNA was found on one of the victims. Shortly after, police were able to track down and arrest the East African migrant. It wasn’t until Thursday’s court hearing, however, that the man finally confessed to the crimes in front of presiding Judge Gernot Kugi.

Prosecutor Daniela Zupanc, during her opening remarks to the court, said that she found the heinousness of the crimes committed by the defendant “difficult to put into words”.

“You can believe me, I’ve been a prosecutor for a long time, but even I find it difficult to put into words the deeds that the accused has committed. You think nothing can shake you anymore, but you will unfortunately repeatedly proven wrong,” Zupanc told the court.

Zupac also described to the jury the way in which the defendant would assault his victims, which was always the same. The prosecutor said that the victims were always attacked from behind, forcefully pressed against the ground, and in some cases were strangled. The women simply had no chance to properly defend themselves, the prosecutor added.

“All of the victims have sustained physical injuries and three have severe traumatic disorders,” Zupac said.

Hans Gradischnig, the lawyer for the defendant, told the court that his client was guilty of nine of the ten counts of rape and attempted rape.

When Judge Gernot Kugi asked why the defendant had committed these atrocious acts, the man simply replied: “I don’t know anymore, I’ve forgotten all of this.” When the judge pressed him a bit more, asking whether he did not want to remember or whether he had truly forgotten, the defendant refused to give an answer, suggesting that he has little remorse for his despicable actions and the irreversible damage that they have caused to his victims.

A young girl who was a victim of the serial rapist addressed the court, saying that three years after the attack she was still suffering mentally from the traumatic experience. She told the court how she suffers from panic attacks and flashbacks of the event, and doesn’t dare go out alone in the evening. The victim also refused to accept an apology from her attacker.

A second victim, who also took the stand, characterized the attack as “very violent”.

During closing statements just before sentencing, Judge Kugi said that the defendant had acted with extreme cruelty by repeatedly sexually assaulting physically inferior victims. The judge also noted that the defendant’s admission of guilt was mitigating, so 13 years of imprisonment would be an appropriate sentence. The verdict, however, is not yet final.

Like the majority of Western European countries, Austria too has suffered from a dramatic uptick in rapes committed by foreigners since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, including in countries like ItalySweden and Germany. Last fall, a court in Austria convicted five ‘asylum seekers’ between the ages of 17 and 22 of gang raping a 13-year-old girl in the city of Graz, Kronen Zeitung reported.

After meeting the 13-year-old girl at the central railway station of the city, the five young men lured the young teen back to an apartment where they made her take alcohol and other drugs before commanding her to take her clothes off. One of the young migrant filmed the entire gang rape on his mobile phone. Investigators were later able to recover the phone, along with the graphic footage.

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