The trial of the abuse and death of a 13-year-old in Vienna began with an announced confession and an apology. The prosecutor accused the young men aged 19, 20 and 23 on Tuesday of having given the girl several tablets of ecstasy and raped her on a June evening last year.
According to the prosecutor, the child was "severely impaired and completely defenseless" during the abuse. He died of a drug overdose and asphyxiation. The lawyer for the young man in whose apartment the girl died announced that his client would plead guilty.
23-year-old fled to England after girl's death
Another defendant expressed remorse during his interrogation and said he felt part guilt. "I didn't want something like that to happen. I also apologize to the victim's family," said the 23-year-old, who fled to England after the girl's death and was located there by the police.
He and the other two are accused of rape resulting in death and serious sexual abuse of a minor. The three suspects, who are from Afghanistan, face sentences ranging from ten years to life. However, the prosecutor did not rule out the possibility that the proceedings could escalate into a murder trial if further incriminating facts came to light. The grand jury is scheduled to announce verdicts on October 6.
A case with a political dimension
The case also has a political dimension. Last year, the ÖVP chancellor party used the suspects' Afghan descent as an opportunity to insist on the deportation of criminal asylum seekers to Afghanistan despite the seizure of power by the militant Islamist Taliban. Representatives of the conservative ÖVP also asked whether some refugees could be integrated into Austrian society at all.
The 23-year-old testified on Tuesday that he paid the girl 50 euros for the sex. He did not administer drugs. He also tried to save the girl with cardiac massage and ventilation. The judge confronted him with testimonies from two uninvolved friends that he had told them after the night of the crime that he had given the child six tablets of ecstasy and raped her.
Some contradicting information
The youngest suspect has stated, according to his lawyer, that he and the girl were a couple and that the sex was consensual. According to the prosecutor, the victim's injuries and the drugs dissolved in a drink clearly indicate rape.
Sexual acts on a person under the age of 14 are illegal in Austria and are punishable under the Penal Code with imprisonment from one year to ten years, depending on the circumstances, more severely. Sexual activity with a person under the age of 14 is never supposed to be consensual.