After the death of a doctor – Minister’s letter to the police: “Investigate the culprit”

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The controversy surrounding the tragic death of Doctor Lisa-Maria Kellermayr continues. After mounting criticism of the police’s conduct, Interior Minister Gerhard Karner joined Chancellor Karl Nehammer in the debate — based on a letter mailed to 38,000 law enforcement officers on Thursday. Karner calls for an investigation into the senders of the threatening messages. However, he declared a “bad speech” by the police inadmissible.

Almost a week has passed since Upper Austrian doctor Lisa-Maria Kellermayr was found dead in her practice. Since then, there has been a wide-ranging political debate about people in need of protection, and the Upper Austrian police in particular has faced a lot of criticism for not following up on indications of threatening messages to the doctor, who apparently committed suicide out of fear.

The ÖVP-led Ministry of the Interior has so far insisted that the responsible officials have exhausted all legal options, but the Green government partner has not given up either. “But we have the impression here that the police in Upper Austria had neither the willingness nor the authority to prosecute this crime,” club boss Sigrid Maurer recently criticized in the ORF’s “ZiB 2”.

The chancellor (and former interior minister) has since intervened herself, explaining to krone.tv: “We should not only discuss that we should be more careful in our dealings with each other and also allow different opinions into the discourse. (…) Yes, we must take hate seriously and fight it!”

“The own task of the police and the judiciary”
Now his Minister of the Interior is following suit. In an internal letter available to the “Krone,” Gerhard Karner describes the Lisa-Maria Kellermayr case as “terrible and shocking.” “Of course,” said the minister, “every effort must continue to be made to investigate the senders of the threatening messages in order to obtain a full clarification. That is the primary task of the police and the judiciary, which they perform with full commitment every day.”

“Reflexive verbal abuse by the police”
In his message, however, the minister does not shy away from criticizing the critics and clearly defends his authority: “One outrage follows another and people are pilloried, especially in the so-called ‘social’ media. (…) A genuflection and general insults (…) of the police work in our country is completely inappropriate and inadmissible.You can be sure that as Minister of the Interior I will not let that happen.And above all, you can be sure of the confidence of the people in our country.”

The full text of the minister’s letter to the police (click or type to enlarge):

In any case, the tragic case of Kellermayr exposed weaknesses in the system. The highly sensitive issue has been on the table for years. A package of measures against “hate online” was put together in early 2021. Since then, the district courts have been able to request the removal of hate messages and the regional courts have been able to initiate proceedings against the perpetrators. However, the prosecution of the alleged perpetrators repeatedly pushes investigators to their limits – especially when threats, as in the current case, come mainly from abroad.

However, the judiciary could soon have an effective tool: the so-called e-evidence scheme should facilitate the identification of suspects and allow prosecutors to obtain information directly from service providers without the intervention of foreign authorities – that would also allow the investigation of the Lisa-Maria Kellermayr case accelerate.

Source: Krone

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