AUSTRIA. Vienna: Four men have received long prison sentences for being accomplices in murder in a horrific terrorist attack carried out by a lone jihadist gunman in the middle of Austria’s capital in November 2020.
In Vienna’s popular nightlife region known as the Bermuda Triangle, Kujtim Fejzulai went on the rampage, killing four people and injuring 23 others.
His nine minutes of terror came to an end when cops shot him to death.
Two more people, ages 22 and 23, were found not guilty of murder conspiracy but guilty of lesser terrorism-related offences.
The 20-year-old assailant, who was of Macedonian and Austrian nationality, had undergone radicalization in Austria and had already served 18 months in prison for attempting to join the jihadist organisation Islamic State (IS), which claimed responsibility for the killings.
The four convicted in Vienna were as follows:
Heydayatollah Z, 28, who shared the murderer’s apartment for several weeks and whose DNA was found on the Kalashnikov murder weapon, received a life sentence.
Burak K, 24, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after visiting the murderer hours before the attack.
Adam M., who provided a gun for €500 but claimed not to have known what the murderer intended to do with it, was also handed life in prison.
Ishaq F., 22, who was incarcerated with Fejzulai and knew he had fantasised about attacking someone, received a 19-year term.
Everyone has the right to appeal. Vienna had been spared the kind of widespread attacks that have struck other European capitals like Paris, London, and Berlin for nearly 40 years.
But that changed on November 2, 2020, when the shooter targeted the heart of the old city.
The region with its winding cobblestone lanes is home to St. Ruprecht’s, Vienna’s oldest church, and the Stadttempl, the city’s main synagogue, the only Jewish place of worship to escape the Nazi Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938.
It is one of Vienna’s liveliest nightlife areas during the day but quiet during the evening. At 8 o’clock in the evening, the shootings started.
In advance of Austria going into lockdown due to the coronavirus, it was a lovely evening, and many people were out having one last night out.
The next morning, the steps of one old, traditional restaurant were splattered with blood. One of the men who was eating there told how he and his wife had sought safety in the cellar when gunfire started to ring out.
The interior ministry came under heavy fire for failing to keep an eye on the shooter after being made aware of the threat.
The government, which acknowledged handling the attack’s intelligence incorrectly, then passed a harshly criticised anti-terror law that boosted monitoring and introduced a fresh offence of “religiously motivated” crimes.
Judges, rights organisations, and the opposition all criticised the legislation.
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