Attorney General of Austria Summarily Rejects Re-opening of Stephan Templ case

Two and a half months after we sent our Open Letter to the Attorney General of Austria, Dr Werner Pleischl, we received a response. We had written to Dr Pleischl as, in his role of Attorney General , he is the “supreme guardian of the application of the law“. He alone has the discretion to examine the decisions of the courts – even after a conviction – to ensure that they have correctly applied the law and, in cases where an individual has been disadvantaged as a result of an incorrect application of the law, to re-establish justice in such cases by re-opening them.

Given that Stephan Templ’s conviction was based an an extreme mis-application of the law – which has puzzled lawyers, journalists and legal experts – we appealed to the Attorney General to use his authority to  allow this case to be looked at again. We gave detailed reasons for why his discretion applied, raised the numerous errors of fact and errors of law relied upon for the original verdict, and provided an evidential basis of Austrian law and Austrian restitution legislation which underpinned our arguments.

Notwithstanding his tremendous discretion in cases like this, and the purpose of his role to be one of mercy and of justice, we were surprised to receive a brusque one-page ‘response’ that rejected all our claims, with little reasoning and no legal support given.

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Austria’s ‘State Defamation’ Against Stephan Templ

LONDON, 18 November 2014 – Defence counsel acting on behalf of Jewish activist Stephan Templ have denounced the recent conduct of Austrian public officials, arguing that their politically motivated persecution in this case constitutes state defamation.

According to international lawyer Robert Amsterdam, not only have prosecutors deliberately and repeatedly misinformed the media regarding the details of the case, but diplomatic staff including the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have also issued false statements distorting the court record. The fact that these misleading comments continued while the court was considering Mr. Templ’s sentencing appeal represents a form of state defamation intended to damage the defendant’s character and influence the legal outcome, says Amsterdam.

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An Open Letter to the Austrian Attorney General

This open letter to the Attorney General of Austria Dr Werner Pleischl raises a number of the multiple factual and legal errors in the prosecution of Mr Templ, and highlights the fundamental injustice of the conduct by the Austrian authorities. The full text of the letter follows – a PDF version of the document can be downloaded here.

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Amsterdam & Partners Takes on Holocaust Restitution Case in Austria

London, 4 September 2014 — The firm of Amsterdam & Partners has been retained by Stephan Templ after his conviction by an Austrian court.

Mr Templ, an Austrian citizen, has been sentenced to three years in prison for “defrauding the Austrian Republic” following a restitution claim for a share of a 19th-century hospital in Vienna that was seized by the Nazis in 1938.

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