The 42-year-old was – based on his own stories – accused of crimes committed by the terrorist organization and the criminal organization. In court, he emphasized that he had made it all up in order to get asylum. In fact, there are no survey results that would support a guilty verdict, the judge stated.
The Palestinian himself said in interviews and in his first interrogations that he had collected information for Hamas’ military wing. He also claimed to have worked as a double agent for the Israeli secret service. The man, who had entered Austria as a refugee in 2021, protested at the trial that none of this was true. He invented the story because he hoped it would give him asylum status. He wanted to imitate his brother, who fled to the USA as a double agent and was granted asylum. “I didn’t know how dangerous the game I was playing was,” said the 42-year-old.
The judge justified the acquittal by saying that there were a number of – sometimes contradictory – statements by the accused, but no reliable information from the authorities. Even the Israeli secret service has not confirmed that he is suspected of being a terrorist. The Palestinian thanked for the acquittal. The prosecutor gave no explanation. The judgment is therefore not yet final.
The Eisenstadt prosecutor had accused the son of a leading Hamas member of having collected information about attacks, their effects, rocket attack targets and various Israeli activities for the terrorist organization from 2004 to 2017 and from early to mid-2019. The 42-year-old had started the investigation himself with his statements in interviews. An asylum seeker who was accommodated in the same accommodation finally informed the police.
The interviews, in which he also criticized Hamas for being corrupt, were only there to get a reason for asylum and to find accommodation in Europe, said the Palestinian, who rejected all accusations from the beginning of the trial: “I’m not guilty, and I’ll explain it to you.” His defense attorney emphasized that although the 42-year-old was the son of a Hamas founder, that was not a punishable offense. “He is not a Hamas member and he was never a Hamas member.” When asked whether, as he had stated in the past, he was a double agent and also worked for the Israeli secret service, the accused replied: “I’m not James Bond.”
Two investigators told the court that there was above all the statement by the 42-year-old and videos in which he stated that he had worked for the terrorist organization. However, there was no concrete notification from an authority that he was a Hamas member. The 42-year-old’s stories seemed credible to them.