There are only a few days left before Austria is due to imprison the journalist Stephan Templ despite a total absence of grounds in what has become the most outrageous example of persecution by a European government with undeniable overtones of official anti-Semitism. This announcement was placed in the newspaper Der Standard crying out against the injustice.
As written about previously, Marco Schreuder of the Green Party raised our Open Letter to the Attorney General Werner Pleischl in an official Inquiry in Parliament. The Minister of Justice Wolfgang Brandstetter had two months to reply, which he did on the last possible day, 18 February 2015.
His response echoes that of the Attorney General to our original letter : they simply do not want to know. The Minister referred to the decisions that had been taken by the Supreme Court in upholding the original verdict, and that of the Attorney General in not re-opening the case and said that there was nothing further to be done.
Yet again, we are faced with Austrian officials’ total refusal to even entertain the possibility that an error was made in Stephan Templ’s case, even when shown, in detail, that there have been injustices done.
Stephan Templ is seven months away from being imprisoned for a crime that he could not have committed.
Almost 70 years since end of World War II, Austria has largely shed its image as an engine for the Holocaust, and is instead better known these days as a civil, rule-of-law, wealthy country. Nevertheless, a series of recent events shows that the retrogressive anti-Semitic attitudes of the past continue to lurk deep inside the state bureaucracy, at least among some individuals.
Amsterdam & Partners wrote to the Austrian Attorney General Werner Pleischl to highlight the deeply concerning conduct of the prosecution deliberately misleading the media on the details of the case, as well as statements from numerous senior judicial and governmental officials that reject the claim that the Austrian government could ever be considered a victim in this case. We appealed to him for an ‘extraordinary reopening’ of the case that only he has the discretion to allow. We received a terse response rejecting this and all other requests to re-establish justice in this case.