Fritzl lawyer:

“His dream of a house in the country has come closer”

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14.05.2024 16:30

More than 15 years after Josef Fritzl was convicted of murder by omission, blood libel and imprisonment, the serious criminal is transferred to normal prison - although he remains in custody, he could still soon enjoy a bit of freedom. Celebrity lawyer Astrid Wagner leaves no stone unturned!

The seemingly never-ending story of "cellar monster" Josef Fritzl has yet another facet to it. 16 years after his arrest, the now 89-year-old will now finally be transferred to normal prison - as he is no longer considered dangerous enough to require placement in a forensic-therapeutic center, it is said.

The three-judge panel of the Krems Regional Court thus followed the assessment of celebrity psychiatrist Heidi Kastner and the strategy of Fritzl's lawyer Astrid Wagner. The defense lawyer is naturally extremely satisfied in the interview:

"Krone": Ms. Wagner, another respectable legal success for your client. How difficult was the path?

Wagner: It really wasn't easy, after all, the first expert opinion was already available in 2021. There was a lot of resistance, but this is now an important step.

What does Josef Fritzl's new life look like now?
A lot will change, but not much at first. The decisive factor now is the Ministry of Justice, and I hope the corresponding reflection process has already started. I can imagine that he will now be transferred to the hospital ward in normal detention. But of course that's not a permanent solution. I will now wait until he has settled in and then, of course, I will also apply for a relaxation of his sentence.

At his hearing, the convicted felon appeared badly marked by age - his star lawyer's strategy worked. (Bild: Krone KREATIV/Eva Manhart, Antal Imre)
At his hearing, the convicted felon appeared badly marked by age - his star lawyer's strategy worked.

What could the relaxation of his sentence look like in concrete terms?
We first have to wait and see whether he is transferred to another prison. Suben or Tullnerbach would come to mind. But I do believe that further therapy is necessary or must be possible in view of his progressive dementia and also accompanied outings.

How is your client dealing with the situation now?
To be honest, he probably doesn't know anything about it yet, I won't be visiting him until tomorrow. Yesterday we talked about his pocket money. He wanted to buy himself fruit, as he leads a very healthy lifestyle. His ultimate goal is, of course, to live independently. The dream of a little house in the countryside with a train connection is now closer, even if it's still a long way off.

Opinions are naturally divided about the judge's decision, how do you deal with criticism?
My credo remains the same - everyone is equal before the law. The idea of mercy in the Christian understanding is very strongly anchored in my mind. Resocialization of offenders is a valuable asset in Austria, even if there is criticism in this regard.

Normalexecution: Fritzl's "new life" in detail
If the decision finally becomes legally binding, the 89-year-old will have to move - at least on paper. Because being transferred to a normal prison does not automatically mean a change of location.

Until now, he has received his psychiatric treatment and psychotherapy, to which he was sentenced in the form of an admission, in Stein prison. However, "normal" prisoners are also incarcerated there. Only the measures to reduce dangerousness are no longer available.

The tug-of-war over Fritzl, who suffers from dementia, has been going on for years in the Krems-Stein prison (Lower Austria). (Bild: P. Huber)
The tug-of-war over Fritzl, who suffers from dementia, has been going on for years in the Krems-Stein prison (Lower Austria).

However, a change of scenery is still likely for Fritzl - to a senior citizens' prison. Both retired first-time offenders and serial criminals are locked up in such prisons and receive age-appropriate care.

In this case, probably dementia therapy. In any case, the "cellar monster" is still behind bars. Even if he is now one step closer to being released.

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

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