German student has been under arrest in Vienna for four months
My brother Josef S. has been in pre-trial confinement in Vienna since almost four months now. He was arrested on 24th of January 2014 while protesting against the academics ball in Vienna and Josef as an individual is meant to be made responsible for all offenses committed on this evening. He is accused of aggravated assault, heavy wilfull damage to property and leadership in violations of the public peace.
Although the court brought forth no plausible evidence, it has denied the defence’s request for releasing Josef from custody four times in a row now. It decided this always under the pretense of Josef being a threat to repeat the alleged offenses and because of “the expected and necessary prison sentence for him”. With these reasons, the court seemingly presupposes a verdict before having granted Josef a lawful trial.
They do this although there is only scanty evidence. Prosecution grounds its accusation on a plainclothesman’s testimony who claims to have observed Josef for almost the whole time of the protest. Additionally, there is a video filmed with the plainclothesman’s smartphone that is said to show Josef while contributing to an instigation of the protesters. This accusation however, has been disproven by professional opinion which conducted a voice analysis on 28th of April. Although the court itself commissioned this opinion, it now refuses to let it have any relevance for the trial. Furthermore, there are numerous procedural errors: The wounded policemen which are named in the charges against Josef were neither correctly registered by name nor were they interrogated about the events. The existing footage of surveillance cameras and of reporters present at the protest is excluded from evidence. There is suspicion that public prosecution needs a scapegoat who can be made responsible for the riots. Josef, student from German city Jena, comes in really handy to achieve this aim.
In an open letter to the Austrian ministery of justice, over 300 people, among them Eva Blimlinger, rector of the of the academy of visual arts Vienna and Prof. Manuel Vogel, theologian at the university of Jena, demand Josef’s release. They demand this because they see “reasonable doubt in the police’s accusations against Josef”. Furthermore, they say that the circumstances of Josef’s arrest and the
court’s reasons for his pre-trial confinement give the impression that his case does not simply follow the rules of ordinary criminal prosecution but that it serves political aims and the wish to make an example of Josef. They agree that this stands against the rule of law in Austria.
We are very worried, that the life of a young man who is dear to us is in danger of being destroyed by political arbitrariness. We appeal to Austrian justice, to examine Josef’s case with the usual rule of law.
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