Trial opens into 2020 Vienna terror attack
Hanoi, Oct 18: Six alleged accomplices of a gunman who carried out Austria's first deadly Islamist attack in 2020 went on trial in Vienna on Tuesday.
On November 2, 2020, Austria saw its deadliest shooting in decades when convicted "Islamic State" (IS) supporter Kujtim Fejzulai went on a rampage in a downtown area of the capital. He killed four people and wounded 23 more before being shot dead by police.
As a result of the attack, both the government and Austrian intelligence came under heavy criticism for how they monitored extremists in the country.
Attacker paroled less than halfway through sentence
The six men in Tuesday's proceedings are not accused of directly taking part in the attack, but prosecutors say they helped Fejzulai plan the rampage and procure the weapons he used.
Aged between 21 and 23 years old, four of the defendants are Austrian, one is Chechen, and one is Kosovar. Fejzuali, who was 20 at the time of the attack, was an Austrian citizen with parents from North Macedonia.
A lawyer for the 32-year-old Chechen defendant, who is charged with weapons trafficking, told French news agency AFP that her client claims he did not know what the gun would be used for.
Fezjulai had been convicted in 2019 over traveling to Syria and trying to join IS. He was sentenced to 22 months in prison, but was paroled eight months into his sentence.
Following the attack, Austria adopted a sweeping new anti-terror law in 2021 that has been heavily criticized for increasing the breadth of the surveillance state.