Despite having been described as a Catholic with mental health issues, the Bosnian defendant in a Nice-style high-speed ram-raid attack that killed four in the Austrian city Graz has admitted to being a Muslim in court.
Alen Rizvanović went on a rampage through the city centre of Graz in June 2015, mounting the pavement in his powerful family car and mowing down pedestrians at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour. Three were killed immediately, and a fourth died months later. One of the victims who died was just four years old.
Referred to simply as ‘Alen R’ in Austrian media, the killer has now been judged mentally unwell, meaning he cannot be jailed for the killing and after the trial will be committed to an institution. Appearing at his first court date this morning in a white suit and without the heavy beard he wore at the time of the attack, Rizvanović was challenged by the judge on a number of articles in his defence, including the claim he had converted to Christianity.
As reported by Breitbart London, many mainstream media stories about the attack reported Mr. Rizvanović was a troubled Christian who embarked on the deadly rampage after running into difficulties at home with his wife, yet other reports suggested he was a violent Muslim whose wife had fled after he abused her.
Probing the claim, judge Eva Cesnik asked the Bosnian: “When did you become a Christian? You have always indicated that you are a Muslim. When were you baptised?” The killer admitted he was not a Christian and had never been baptised, reports Kronen Zeitung.
Investigations of the killer’s social media accounts showed he had liked and followed hundreds of Islamic pages and Saudi Arabian accounts. It was later reported he was a devout Muslim who went to mosque six times a week.
The judge also challenged a number of the other claims made by Rizvanović, including that he believed he couldn’t kill anyone with his acts, and that he was not a skilled enough driver to hope to perform such acts. The judge dismissed his claims, and said: “I have rather the opposite impression. To turn such a heavy vehicle in such a tight radius, is not easy”.
The case will call on an unusually-high number of witnesses, given the attack took place on the main shopping street of the city in the middle of the day. First among the 130 witnesses to speak was Graz Mayor Siegfried Nagl, who was out shopping and saw the attack himself. He has spoken out on the process of declaring the killer mentally unwell, and therefore not liable to be jailed.
Mr. Nagl said: “Thousands of people, a large majority of Graz residents wish this man remains a lifetime behind bars… I hope that the court and the prosecutor’s office ensure that he remains in custody for life.”
The mayor added his concern that should the killer later be deemed mentally well again he could be released back into society without having seen the inside of a jail cell. He remarked: “After a year this man is back among us.”