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Kappel, Abwerzger

Sex attacks in Innsbruck prompt deportation drive

Freedom Party politician and Austrian MEP Barbara Kappel says Austria should adopt tougher immigration laws in order to deport migrants in the wake of the recent sex attacks in Innsbruck.

Published: January 8, 2017, 9:35 am

    On New Year’s Eve dozens of women in Austrian cities were victims to a wave of sex attacks, similar to the mass sex attacks in Germany last year.

    The sexual assaults were reportedly committed by a group of North Africans, men of “Mediterranean appearance”. Most victims were white girls from Austria and neighboring Italy, Germany and Switzerland, aged between 19 and 25 years old, while most of the assaults were committed around midnight.

    The attack happened in the city’s main square, where thousands had gathered for the New Year’s Eve celebration, the AFP news agency reported.

    “We need to deport [the migrants], and we need binding agreements with third countries that they take back their citizens… because we know from the Ministry of Internal Affairs that 90 percent of the asylum-seekers who are not granted asylum remain in the country — and that’s a big problem,” Kappel told RT.

    In an earlier interview with RT Kappel had rejected the term “far-right” to describe the Freedom Party: “I have to correct you we are not a far-right party; we are a center-right party.”

    She suggested that not only in Austria, but also in all other European states, those migrants who do not qualify for asylum, should be deported as soon as possible.

    According to Kappel, the unprecedented influx of migrants on the European continent has taken place without proper scrutiny, but the recent spate of sexual assaults ought to harden the attitudes of local authorities on the issue.

    Markus Abwerzger, another politician from the Freedom Party (FPO), blamed police for not being prepared: “Police chiefs could have prevented sexual assaults on women, as reported by the media, since the suspected perpetrators were acting like on New Year’s Eve 2015/2016 in Cologne.

    “And a part of the group of persons [involved in the mass sex attacks] include members of the North African criminal scene, which have caused massive problems in Innsbruck for years,” Abwerzger added.

    The Tiroler Tageszeiting, citing police, reported that 90 officers were deployed to guard the celebrations this year, compared to around 60 in 2016.

    “You cannot just go over to the daily agenda and pretend one has done everything possible anyway.”

    The head of the investigation into the attacks, Ernst Kranebitter, told the BBC that the scale of the attacks and the way they were carried out were unprecedented for Innsbruck.

    Last month the Austrian newspaper Kurier reported that the number of sexual assaults committed by migrants in Austria more than doubled during 2016. According to interior ministry statistics, in 2015 asylum seekers in Austria committed 39 rapes. Over the first nine months of 2016 the number of asylum seekers under investigation for rape increased to 91, an increase of 133 percent.

    Earlier, Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Subotka told German newspaper Die Welt that Austria remains in favor of border controls which it imposed at its border with Germany in September 2015 at the height of Europe’s migrant crisis.

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