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“I hated foreigners, but not anymore!”

“I hated foreigners, but not anymore!”
The trial took place at the Ried regional court.
Image: OÖN/Streif

“Apparently the defendant had National Socialist sentiments until a year ago,” said public prosecutor Alois Ebner as he presented the indictment in the Ried jury courtroom. A 48-year-old from Salzburg took a seat in the prosecution chair. For the man, who earns 1,300 euros net per month as a driver, it is a new experience as he has so far been blameless. The accused will be tried for the crime of re-engagement; eight jurors will decide whether to convict. “The defendant had two tattoos made on his index finger. When he makes a fist, it turns into a swastika,” says Ebner. Last summer, the accused had the tattoo done. In addition, the Salzburger is heavily burdened by his ex-wife. He is said to have spoken to them in repeated attacks about “gassing the shitty foreigners”. He also described himself as “the real second Adolf Hitler”. That’s not all: According to the indictment, in March 2023 he sent several photos with Nazi content on WhatsApp.

“My client will make a remorseful confession today. He is sorry and he will never do it again,” says the defense attorney in his opening statement. The accused doesn’t beat around the bush for long. “I plead guilty,” he says, pointing to a black streak on his hand. “Look, the swastika is completely gone,” he says. Unfortunately, he has had major alcohol problems in recent years. The reason for this was tragic deaths in his family. “I couldn’t control myself under the influence of alcohol. I was also drunk when I tattooed the swastika,” says the 48-year-old, adding: “I’m terribly sorry for everything that happened. I would like to undo it, but I Of course I know that’s not possible.”

“Distance me from it”

Josef Lautner, the presiding judge of the jury, wants to know whether he had a hatred for foreigners. “Yes, but I don’t want to have anything to do with it anymore. I’ve been distancing myself from it for a year and a half.” The judge investigates and wants to know the exact reasons. It probably had something to do with the refugee flows in 2015. “But people can’t help it. If I lived in Syria, I would leave so I could live in a better country. Unfortunately, I saw things differently at the time,” says the accused. Fortunately, he has his alcohol problem under control. The jury’s deliberations and the verdict do not take long. The accused is sentenced to eight months of conditional imprisonment. The verdict is not yet legally binding.

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