“Have to go!” – Mikl-Leitner as a witness in the trial against Waldhäusl


The governor of Lower Austria Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP) was heard as a witness in St. Pölten on Monday at the trial for abuse of office against provincial councilor Gottfried Waldhäusl (FPÖ) and a former state official. The jury hearing revolves around the transfer of minors to the asylum rooms in Drasenhofen, which is bordered by barbed wire, in 2018. Mikl-Leitner justified the shutdown she initiated with the child and youth attorney’s report.

The state governor, who according to her statements was testifying in court for the first time, said before the day of the hearing that she “wanted to contribute to the investigation”. On the witness stand, Mikl-Leitner said photos of the barbed wire-lined quarters on the border with the Czech Republic created the “association with a prison.” A barbed wire “had no place there”, the ÖVP politician had registered in 2018.

Pedagogical concept was missing
Regarding the closure on November 30, 2018, four days after the opening of the Drasenhofen accommodation, the governor stated: “My office has informed me that there is a very clear opinion of the independent child and youth lawyer, according to which these conditions do not meet the requirements for care for children and young people” – there was no pedagogical concept.

She therefore requested that the transfer to an adequate facility be arranged immediately. Because Waldhäusl did not feel responsible for this, the State Service was asked to investigate this matter legally.

“No information”
Mikl-Leitner had “no information” about plans for the Drasenhofen asylum center because this is the responsibility of the state council. When the judge asked about it, she told Waldhäusl, “I think he knew what he was responsible for.”

Waldhäusl then presented the jury with a photo of a barbed-wire building in Zwentendorf (Tulln district), in which he said 153 Lower Austrian primary school children were taught for a year. There was no pedagogical objection to this at the time. It has not been checked whether the children’s development is endangered.

Not moving against her will
The resettlement of refugees is a matter for the institutions, emphasized the former state official. If a young person refused, he was not transferred.

According to the prosecution’s charges of economic and corruption, the two accused allegedly harmed at least 14 young refugees in their right to basic care and housing in suitable accommodation, as they allegedly led to their transfer to the Drasenhofen district.

The young people were thus “subjected to a measure that destabilized their personality development”.

Both pleaded not guilty
In addition to abuse of office, the former state official is also accused of falsifying evidence and defamation because she allegedly submitted an incomplete email during the investigation and thus suspects her supervisor. Waldhäusl and the co-defendant plead innocent.

Before the regional court in St. Pölten, the demonstrators demanded Monday – just like previous days of the hearing – with musical accompaniment, among other things: “Waldhäusl must go”. The hearing has been running since early February, with further appointments scheduled until September 23. Affected refugees should also be questioned.

Source: Krone


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