Fighters of the Shiite Hezbollah terror group in the southern Lebanese town of Kfar Hatta on March 18, 2017. (AFP)
September 2, 2020
A court in the capital of the Austrian
state of Carinthia last week convicted a Hezbollah commander and recruiter for the Lebanese terrorist organization.
The court in the city of Klagenfurt declared the 41-year-old Lebanese man guilty due to his membership in a terrorist organization, a criminal organization, and his role in training for terroristic purposes. The court sentenced the unnamed Lebanese man to a nine-year prison term, according to the Austria Press Agency.
The Jerusalem Post reported in March that the Hezbollah commander spent 13 years in the central European country while reportedly being involved in financing terrorism.
According to the indictment, the Hezbollah commander has been a member of the Shi’ite terrorist movement since 2006. He oversaw a 60-member unit on the border with Syria where combat took place. The convicted Hezbollah
terrorist participated in battle in which people were murdered during the Syrian civil war.
The Austrian media report did not identify the victims. “On the part of Hezbollah alone, there were 12 dead during his time there. In the asylum procedure, he also stated that he had recruited 250 men and young people over the age of 14 to join Hezbollah. He also took part in ideological and military training, including in Iran, but also trained himself,” the indictment noted, according to the Austrian wire service article.
The Austria Press Agency reported that “immediately after the verdict was pronounced, the jury’s senate ordered the 41-year-old to be arrested. The court imposed pretrial detention due to the risk of a crime and the risk of flight. Several policemen were needed to get the man, who dropped several times to the floor, out of the room, and the family of the Lebanese man protested aggressively.”
The Hezbollah commander may appeal the verdict.
In 2019, Peter Gridling, director of the Austrian federal agency responsible for combating terrorism, said Islamic terrorism is the biggest danger for Austria.
Austria’s 2018 intelligence report, the most recent document on covering terrorist threats, lists Islamic terrorism, but does not address the danger in specific terms. For example, the Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah organization is not listed.
The US government under both the Obama and Trump administrations has designated Iran as the top state sponsor of international terrorism.
Austria has refused to ban Hezbollah’s entire organization. Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, the US, Canada, Israel, the Arab League, Lithuania and many Latin American countries have designated Hezbollah’s entire movement a terrorist entity. Austria and the EU have merely banned Hezbollah’s “military wing” while allowing its “political arm” to function.
The Jerusalem Post