Torture in  [Austria]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Austria]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Austria]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Austria]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                        

Republic of Austria

Austria, with its well-developed market economy and high standard of living, is closely tied to other EU economies, especially Germany's. Its economy features a large service sector, a sound industrial sector, and a small, but highly developed agricultural sector.

Austria will need to continue restructuring, emphasizing knowledge-based sectors of the economy, and encouraging greater labor flexibility and greater labor participation to offset its aging population and exceedingly low fertility rate.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Austria

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Austria.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2012

[accessed 14 Jan 2014]

TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT - Austria failed to introduce the crime of torture into its criminal code despite repeated recommendations by the UN Committee against Torture.

Gambian citizen Bakary J., who was tortured by four police officers in 2006 following an unsuccessful deportation, had still not received reparation and was at risk of deportation. His complaint before the European Court of Human Rights was still pending.

In January, the police officer who in February 2009 injured US citizen Mike B., an African-American teacher, during a plain-clothes police operation in Vienna, was sentenced to a fine for grievous bodily harm by the Vienna Regional Criminal Court. In September, the fine was reduced by the Austrian Supreme Court.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 16 January 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however, there were reports that police beat and abused persons.

On July 15, the CPT reported receiving a "considerable number" of allegations that police mistreated criminal detainees, primarily in Linz and the surrounding area, during its April 2004 fact-finding mission. The CPT expressed particular concern over allegations by juvenile detainees, as young as fourteen, of physical abuse and threats by police in order to obtain confessions. The reported abuse included slaps, punches, kicks, blows to the head, prolonged and tight handcuffing, and combined use of hand and ankle cuffs linked together for lengthy periods. In several cases, members of the CPT delegation found marks consistent with allegations that handcuffs had been applied tightly. The Interior Ministry investigated these cases but concluded that none of the accusations could be verified.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/AUT/4-5 (2010)

[accessed 21 February 2013]

9. The Committee is concerned at the restrictions placed by the State party on the exercise of the right of an arrested or detained person to communicate with counsel and have counsel present during interrogations. In this respect, it notes with concern that, pursuant to section 59 (1) of the amended Code of Criminal Procedure, police officers can monitor contacts between the arrested or detained person and counsel and exclude the presence of counsel during interrogations if “it appears necessary to prevent interference in ongoing investigations or corruption of evidence”. In such a case, an audio or visual recording of the interrogation must be made if possible (section 164, para. 2, of the Code of Criminal Procedure). The Committee is also concerned at the content of paragraph 24 of Internal Instruction (Erlass) Ref. BMI -EE1500/0007-II/2/a/2009 issued by the Federal Ministry of Interior on 30 January 2009, which would seem to infer that there is no obligation on the part of the police to delay questioning to allow the lawyer to arrive at the place of interrogation (arts. 2 and 11).

15. The Committee notes the information provided by the State party on training programmes for judges, prosecutors, police officers and other law enforcement officials. However, the Committee regrets the limited information on monitoring and evaluation of these training programmes and the lack of available information on the impact of the training conducted and how effective they have been in reducing incidents of torture and ill-treatment (art. 10).

19. The Committee regrets the insufficient statistical data on allegations of torture and ill-treatment provided by the State party as well as the lack of information on the results of the investigations undertaken in respect of those allegations. The Committee notes with concern that almost half of the incidents occurred in 2009 concerned foreigners. In this regard, the Committee continues to be concerned about the high level of impunity in cases of police brutality, including that perceived to be racially-motivated. Until January 2010, allegations of torture and ill-treatment were investigated by the Bureau for Internal Affairs (BIA), a special unit within the Federal Ministry of Interior, which informs the competent public prosecutor about the outcome of the internal enquiry. Although the Bureau of Internal Affairs provided a copy of its reports to the Human Rights Advisory Board, the members of this national human rights institution were not mandated to carry any investigative work. Since the entry into force of the Federal Act on the Establishment and Organization of the Federal Bureau of Anti-Corruption on 1 January 2010, the BIA was transformed into the Federal Bureau of Anti-Corruption that, according to the information provided by the delegation, is “an independent body outside the traditional law enforcement structures and conducts independent investigation in close cooperation with the public prosecutors” (arts. 12-13).

20. The Committee continues to be deeply concerned about the lenient sentences imposed by Austrian courts in cases of torture or other ill-treatment by law enforcement officials. The Committee is particularly concerned about the case of Cheibani Wague, a Mauritanian national, who died on 16 July 2003 in Vienna while being restrained during his arrest by police officers and a medical emergency team. In November 2009, the ambulance doctor and one of the police officers received both a seven month suspended sentence, which was reduced to four months on appeal in the case of the police officer. The Committee expresses also its concern at the case of Mike B., a black American teacher who was beaten up in February 2009 by undercover police officers in the Vienna underground (arts. 11 and 16).

21. While noting the information provided by the State party that victims of torture or ill-treatment have a legal right to obtain compensation, the Committee is nevertheless concerned at the difficulties that certain victims face obtaining redress and adequate compensation. The Committee is particularly concerned about the case of Mr. Bakary Jassay, a Gambian national, who was abused and severely injured by policemen in Vienna on 7 April 2006, and who has not received any compensation yet, not even the € 3,000 awarded by the Court for the damages resulted from the pain and suffering. The Committee also regrets the lack of statistical data and examples of cases in which individuals have received such compensation (art. 14).

U.S. Library of Congress - Country Study

Library of Congress Call Number DB17 .A8 1994

[accessed 17 July 2017]

POLICE – The late 1980s witnessed a growing incidence of complaints alleging police misconduct and unnecessary use of force. The minister for interior reported that there had been 2,622 allegations of ill-treatment by the police between 1984 and 1989, of which 1,142 resulted in criminal complaints leading to thirty three convictions against police officers. In addition, 120 disciplinary investigations were carried out, and disciplinary measures were taken against twenty-six police officers. However, victims of police misbehavior were liable to be deterred from pressing their complaints because of the risk of being charged with slander by the accused officers. A new police law that went into effect in May 1993 stipulates more clearly the limitations on police conduct and imposes restrictions on holding persons on charges of aggressive behavior without an appearance before a magistrate. In addition, leaflets are to be given to detained or arrested persons setting out their rights, including the right to call a lawyer and to have their own doctors if medical examinations are required.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, " Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Austria",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Austria]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Austria]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Austria]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Austria]  [other countries]