The 17 Austrian Identitarian Movement activists accused of forming a criminal hate speech organisation under the country’s mafia laws have been found innocent of all major charges, with two defendants forced to pay minor fines by a judge in Graz.
The conclusion of the case sees all 17 “hipster-right” anti-mass migration activists cleared of the charges that were brought against them earlier this month by Graz prosecutors who used the country’s anti-mafia law in an attempt to claim the activists were engaging in promoting hate speech, Kronen Zeitung reports.
While all the activists were cleared of the major charges, two were given fines: 240 euros for property damage and 720 euros for elbowing a member of the faculty of the University of Klagenfurt in 2016 during a protest against a university course on the integration of migrants into the Austrian labour force.
Regarding the incident, the prosecutor remarked: “You are not a front of patriots for me, but a front of cowards.”
After a long month of court dates, the verdict for the Austrian Generation Identity trial is finally in:
NOT guilty of hate speech.
NOT guilty of being a criminal organization.
The boys are FREE!#ÖsterreichIstFrei #Vindicated pic.twitter.com/19lgpG1ft3
— Brittany Pettibone (@BrittPettibone) July 26, 2018
At the time, activist Luca Kerbl claimed that the faculty member had assaulted him and attempted to detain him after the group had left the classroom.
The charges from the case largely stemmed from an action by the group in April of 2016 in which they dropped a banner stating “Islamisation Kills” on the roof of the Graz Green Party headquarters.
While the prosecutor in the case attempted to claim the phrase “Islamisation Kills” was hate speech, the judge ruled that the banner was “no criticism of Islam, but of the Green Party and radical Islamism”.
Breitbart London spoke exclusively to Austrian Identitarian Movement co-leader Martin Sellner, who made headlines earlier this year after being detained at the UK border and banned entry to the country on two separate occasions, on his reaction to the conclusion of the trial.
Austrian Police Raid Multiple Identitarian Activists’ Homes, Including Martin Sellner's https://t.co/pL5fbh2FwG
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 28, 2018
Sellner told Breitbart London that while he was happy at the result of the trial, he expected the prosecutor in the case to appeal the verdict in the coming weeks.
“The judge has claimed the Identitarian Movement does legal activism within the rule of law and is not a criminal organisation,” he said, and added: “We see this as a victory for freedom of speech.”
Sellner claimed that the basis of the prosecution was not an Austrian law, per se, but rather a wider European Union guideline which he said was being used to shut down groups for so-called hate speech.
“The Identitarian Movement is the first victim of this law so this verdict is a very very important one,” Sellner said.
When asked his thoughts on the potential success of an appeal by the Graz prosecutor, Sellner said: “We are confident of the rule of law and justice in Austria.”