“We Chechens have our own customs and want to avoid mixed marriages,” Mubarik A. did not mince his words in the courtroom of the Vienna Criminal Court on Wednesday.
Since the summer of 2020, he and four other self-appointed guardians of public morals between the ages of 19 and 40 are alleged to have organised themselves in secret Telegram groups. Users were encouraged to report Instagram pictures of Chechen girls who were dating non-Chechens or posing in non-traditional clothing. Then the addresses of the victims were researched and unannounced visits were planned (“Why doesn’t someone break all her teeth out?). More than 100 women in Vienna and Linz are said to have been “lectured” by the guardians of public morals and in some cases massively intimidated. In Vienna there were several brutal beatings.
Chat transcripts in the possession of the public prosecutor’s office show the full ruthlessness of the alleged perpetrators: “These girls are a disgrace to our nation. They bring diseases and ruin our reputation,” it says, for example – “We have to go out and beat them properly some day. Neither the police nor anyone else would dare to tell us anything,” one of the accused wrote cockily. He was wrong: undercover investigators got to the bottom of the Chechens’ criminal machinations. Arrests against the administrators, who hid behind sounding aliases like “King of the Night”, “Santa Claus” or “Heinrich Himmler”, followed. Lots of gas and alarm guns were found in their flats. Soon after, the indictment was brought. The serious charge: establishing a criminal organisation.
According to the public prosecutor on Wednesday, all the prerequisites for the so-called “mafia paragraph” were fulfilled: calls for severe coercion, threats to destroy one’s social standing in the community, threats of death, as well as direct violence such as attacking and beating up victims. A manifesto documents the perfidious code of the five chat administrators: “If we find a person whose behaviour and appearance does not correspond to our customs, then we will intervene,” it says.The main defendant Shaid N., whom lawyer Alexander Philipp advocated, confessed comprehensively.Florian Kreiner’s client Mubarik A. (19) surprisingly pleaded not guilty. “He was never an administrator of one of the groups in question, but became a victim of the guardians of public morals himself when a picture of him smoking shisha appeared in the chats.There was no verdict to be given on Wednesday, further witnesses will be summoned.