Vienna: Court finds 4 guilty over role in 2020 terror attack

Four people were killed in November 2020 when a man opened fire in the Austrian capital. Four of the six men on trial were found guilty of encouraging the attack and helping the gunman obtain weapons.

A court in Vienna late on Wednesday found four of six defendants guilty of their role in a deadly terror attack in the Austrian capital.

The attacker, who was a convicted supporter of the “Islamic State” (IS) extremist group, killed four people and wounded 23 others before he was shot dead by police.

Two men were given life sentences for being accessories to murder, while the other two were given sentences of 19 and 20 years.

The final two were cleared of charges related to the murders but found guilty of being members of a terrorist organization and handed two-year partially suspended sentences.

What were the men accused of?

While the six accused men were not directly involved in the November 2020 mass shooting, prosecutors argued that they helped the perpetrator acquire weapons and ammunition.

The six men, aged between 22 and 32, were accused by prosecutors of helping the gunman with preparations and planning, as well as putting him in contact with weapons dealers.

All six faced charges of aiding and abetting murder, while four of the defendants were also charged with spreading extremist IS propaganda.

Defense teams for the six alleged accomplices said they were unaware of the attacker’s plans.

What happened in the attack?

In the evening of November 2, 2020, the 20-year-old gunman opened fire in a busy area of central Vienna where bars and cafes are located. He was armed with an assault rifle and a pistol and was wearing a fake explosives belt.

The gunman, who was an Austrian citizen with parents from North Macedonia, had been convicted in 2019 of traveling to Syria and trying to join IS.

He was sentenced to 22 months in prison but was paroled eight months into his sentence.

It was Austria’s first deadly Islamist attack and sparked heavy criticism of the Austrian government and the country’s intelligence services for how they monitored extremists.

In the aftermath, Austria adopted a new anti-terror law, sparking a wave of criticism from rights groups over its sweeping surveillance powers.

rs,es/sms (Reuters, dpa, AP)

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