The government is tightening the prohibition law. Minister of Justice Alma Zadic (Greens) and Minister of Constitutional Karoline Edtstadler (ÖVP) announced this on Monday. In the future, it will be possible to trace whether Stars of David are worn, for example to demonstrate alleged discrimination against unvaccinated people – as has happened several times in the context of corona protests. Recent events have also led to further tightening.
For example, it is also punishable if relevant content is posted from abroad with Austria as its destination. In addition, you automatically lose your government job if you are convicted under the Prohibition Act. A member of the army recently caused a stir who did not lose his post, even though he even posed in an SS uniform. According to current plans, a conviction under the Prohibition Act automatically leads to loss of office. The reaction to the wearing of Jewish stars at Corona demos was that the term “gross disparagement” was roughly dropped from the prohibition law.
Zadic said at the press conference on Monday morning that any form of NS trivialization and anti-Semitism is an unacceptable attack on Austrian values: “There can be zero tolerance.” Anti-Semitism has no place in Austria, Edtstadler also stressed. Although Austria has a strict legal situation, we are now looking at where we can be even more effective.
This begins with the expansion of domestic jurisdiction. According to the Prohibition Act, everything that can be accessed in Austria must be made a criminal offense in the future. This means that if someone from Spain posts something that is banned in Austria – as Zadic says was often the case in the past – domestic justice can also take action in the future.
The changes were announced after a report from a specially appointed working group became available. For the head of the working group, Gerhard Baumgartner, head of the Documentation Archive of the Austrian Resistance (DÖW), this is a contemporary answer to digital communication. Here the prohibition law is already getting old.
Easier to confiscate Nazi memorabilia
Nazi memorabilia is also sharpened. The current situation is that items can only be confiscated if there is reactivation. Possession alone is not an offence. For example, there’s no cure if someone doesn’t want to relinquish an SS honor, Zadic explains. Now you can remove such items from circulation without criminal charges.
Some relaxation is also planned. The possibility of distraction must now also be offered to adult first offenders. In some cases, a tour of Mauthausen with the right distractions is more effective, Edtstadler said. Baumgartner said in this regard that the government should make structured plans here. The report and plans will be presented to the Council of Ministers on Wednesday. Then you want to start with the implementation.
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