Re-sentencing in Bakary J. Case

News | Vienna Review | December 2008 / January 2009

The four Viennese police officers convicted of abusing an asylum seeker now face renewed suspension following a decision in the Austrian Administrative Court on Oct. 27 stating that their sentences were too mild.

Following an incident dating back to April 2006, the four officers from the specialist WEGA unit were convicted of cruelty to a person in custody. They took the Gambian man, Bakary J., to a deserted warehouse and beat him, in what was described as "frustration" after an attempt to deport the African had gone wrong.

After the attack, Bakary J. was left suffering fractures to the jaw, cheekbone and eye socket. His wife says he still suffers continual headaches and pains in his back.

In the original trial in the Vienna Criminal Court in August 2006, the men were given six to eight month suspended sentences, although a disciplinary official had recommended they be dismissed from the force.

When the original suspension was lifted, they returned to duty and the fines were later repealed.

A spokesperson in the Interior Ministry said the ruling of the Administrative Court (Verwaltungsgerichtshofs) has effectively reopened the case and it will now be necessary to re-suspend the officers.

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