Austrian Minister of the Interior Herbert Kickl has announced that, so far, there are no known personal relationships between Christchurch suspect Brenton Tarrant and Austrian identitarian Martin Sellner.
Kickl, who is a key figure in the populist Freedom Party (FPÖ), announced that while Tarrant had donated 1,500 euros to Austrian Identitarian co-leader Martin Sellner in early 2018, there was no current evidence to suggest he had a personal relationship with him or anyone else in Austria’s right-wing, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports.
“Personal contacts with extremist people or organizations are not known,” Kickl said in a statement to the Austrian parliament on Thursday.
“We take all the tracks very, very seriously,” Kickl added, and noted that Tarrant had visited North Korea with a group in 2014 and that three Austrians were among the group.
“Here, too, we are currently inquiring about the background of this trip to investigate possible contacts more accurately,” he said.
Austrian Identitarians Fully Acquitted Of ‘Mafia’ and Hate Crime Charges https://t.co/dLOtm9s3ff
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The statement comes only a day after Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz confirmed that Tarrant, who is accused of killing fifty people in two mosque attacks in New Zealand, had donated to Sellner personally.
Kurz has called for the dissolution of the Austrian Identitarian Movement as a whole.
Speaking to German conservative newspaper Junge Freiheit, Sellner rejected the accusations of Chancellor Kurz, saying, “Using his private donation to me a year before his attack as evidence for a ‘criminal association’ and then talking about ‘banning the Identitarian Movement’ is not worthy of the rule of law.”
Following Kurz’s statement, a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has called for the movement to be banned in Germany as well.
Rico Anton, of the Saxony CDU parliamentary group, said, “The fact that a murderer from New Zealand donates money to a far-right club in Austria reveals clear ideological proximity,” and urged Germany’s security service to investigate connections between Germany’s Identitarians and the Austrian branch.