An infamous fascist has been put in custody as investigations against a disputed website continue.
Gottfried Küssel was arrested yesterday evening (Mon), prosecutors confirmed this morning. The outspoken neo-Nazi is accused of cooperating with the people behind "Alpe-Donau", a controversial discussion platform of neo-Nazis on the internet. The site was taken offline last month after state prosecutors in Vienna asked their counterparts in the United States for support.
Austrian officials were forced to watch on as anonymous neo-Nazis posted hate messages against foreigners in German on the homepage. "Alpe-Donau" also made headlines for revealing the home addresses and private phone numbers of several journalists and left-wing politicians.
US officials vowed to cooperate with Austria in the matter. Viennese prosecutors failed to find a way to take action against "Alpe-Donau" for months after it became clear that the platform is managed via a server located in the USA.
Küssel’s arrest comes around half a year after investigators confiscated data storage devices and documents at dozens of apartments and offices in Vienna. Around a dozen of users of "Alpe-Donau" – which promoted events held by Küssel in cooperation with Czech neo-Nazis – were identified in the meantime.
Officials said today that, apart from Küssel, another suspect was put in custody. They added that various objects depicting Nazi era logos and slogans – which are banned under Austrian law – were seized as six flats were searched yesterday evening.
Investigators think that some of the suspects may also have links with the Freedom Party (FPÖ), the third-strongest political force in the federal parliament, according to reports from today. FPÖ boss Heinz-Christian Strache has pointed out many times over the past months that he and his party wanted to disassociate themselves from the disputed online forum.
Strache was pressed to speak out on the issue after participators of discussions on the website praised his party for its current policies. The FPÖ sparked outcry among most political competitors for campaigning against members of the Islamic community in Austria who are unwilling to integrate into society. Strache warned of the creation of "parallel societies" in several speeches on the campaign trail in recent years. Surveys show that the right-wing party could come first were Austrians asked to the polls in general elections this month.
Organisers of "Alpe-Donau" and people engaging in discussions in the website’s forum face several years in jail if prosecutors press charges under Austrian anti-Nazi propaganda regulations.