Austria drops probe of alleged Identitarian links to New Zealand shooting

Austrian prosecutors on Friday confirmed that they had dropped an inquiry into Identitarian activists over possible links with the perpetrator of a shooting in New Zealand in 2019. Martin Sellner, the co-founder of the Identitarian Movement of Austria (IBOe), said the investigation was dropped last month.

Sellner came under investigation together with some of his associates because he had received a donation of 1 500 euros shooter from Brenton Tarrant in 2018. In March 2019, Tarrant shot 51 worshippers in attacks on two mosques in the city of Christchurch. He told AFP that investigations targeting his wife and the IBOe had also been dropped last month.

Prosecutors had mulled charges related to “participation in a terrorist organisation” but the spokesman for the prosecutors’ department in the city of Graz, Hansjoerg Bacher, confirmed to AFP that the investigation had been “dropped”. A court had ruled in 2019 that the raid on Sellner’s home had been illegal.

The IBOe has been described by Austrian intelligence services as “agents of modern right-wing extremism”. According to Austrian media, another investigation against Sellner for suspected fraud is ongoing.

Identitarians have warned of the “Great Replacement” where white Europeans are being deliberately supplanted by non-white immigrants. Tarrant’s manifesto was curiously also titled “The Great Replacement”. According to AFP, this is a “conspiracy theory”.

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