Heavily armed and hooded police officers are already deployed in front of the entrance to the Judicial Centre on Thursday morning. The reason for the increased security precautions is a trial that has started in the large jury courtroom of the regional court in the morning.
A 22-year-old Chechen is in the dock, accused of being a member of a terrorist organisation and a criminal organisation. In addition, the 22-year-old is accused of re-offending in the National Socialist sense, as well as of possessing pornographic images of minors and of forging an identity card.
The accused had arrived in Austria in March 2019, where he was accommodated in refugee accommodation. Until a house search had taken place in November of the previous year, the man had allegedly participated as a member of a terrorist organisation, according to the indictment.
In his accommodation in Eisenstadt, the 22-year-old, who has since received a rejected asylum decision, is alleged to have sung Islamic fight songs and voiced that jihad was good. About 600 files on IS, including propaganda and torture videos, were found on his mobile phone, according to the accusation. Among them were videos showing brutal atrocities against people.
The man is also said to have been active in the National Socialist sense: Among other things, the Chechen is said to have collected and possessed pictures of Adolf Hitler and other relevant visual material. During the house search in the accused’s accommodation, more than 30 files were found showing pornographic images of minors.
The accused showed partial confession in court. According to his lawyer, Andreas Schweitzer, his client had joined a Whats-App group where the propaganda has been sent. “What he got, many others also received,” said the defence lawyer.
Some of the files were sent on by his client. It was only stored on his mobile phone because photos were automatically saved by Whats-App.
“Are you now addicted to Islam or to National Socialism?” the defence lawyer had asked his client. His client answered: “I got these, I didn’t think anything of it. He had nothing to do with National Socialism.
He also thinks his client has nothing to do with National Socialism, says lawyer Schweitzer. “My client is still young, he can still change his mind.” The accused himself confessed in part.
He described how he had been imprisoned and tortured in his home country because a friend had sent him a video with content critical of the system. For this reason, and also because one of his brothers lives in Austria, he had also come to Austria. The fact that another brother had fought for the IS in Syria had not been a role model for him, the accused said. “Of course I love my brother, but not as a fighter.
When asked why he had possessed pornographic material of minors, tears come to his eyes. “I am terribly sorry, I am ashamed of it.”
Witnesses are to be heard in the afternoon, a verdict is expected in the evening.