6 on trial in Vienna over links to gunman in 2020 attack
VIENNA (AP) — Six men went on trial in Vienna on Tuesday over their alleged links to a sympathizer of the Islamic State group who carried out a deadly shooting in the Austrian capital in 2020.
A verdict in the trial at the Vienna state court is expected in February at the earliest, public broadcaster ORF reported.
Four people were killed in the attack on Nov. 2, 2020, and the gunman also died. More than 20 other people, including a police officer, were wounded. Assailant Kujtim Fejzulai, a dual national of Austria and North Macedonia, had a previous conviction for trying to join IS in Syria.
The six men who went on trial Tuesday aren’t accused of direct participation in the attack but allegedly helped or influenced Fejzulai as he prepared for the shooting.
The defendants, aged between 22 and 32, face charges that include participation in terrorist crimes and membership in a terrorist organization. The oldest is accused of securing two firearms for Fejzulai in 2020 via an intermediary. Austrian media reported that DNA from the suspects helped lead to the indictment.
One defense lawyer, Manfred Arbacher-Stoeger, said that his client was a close friend of the attacker but never contibuted to the attack in any way and will say he is innocent. Another lawyer, Astrid Wagner, said that her client provided an assault rifle and will admit to the charge of illegal arms trading, but “he didn’t know anything of the plan for the attack” or the “terrorist background” of the assailant.