Based on the trial monitoring, for each day of trial short reports were written. We
selected six of them as examples. You can find more here.
Report of the 22nd day of trial on 11 October 2014
The 22nd day of trial continues the same way the last one has ended. The judge goes on
with the charges. She states which of the observed phone calls are relevant, according
to police protocols. On closer inspection one finds out, that most of the phone conver-
sations don’t have anything to do with the absurd reproaches of the SOKO, not even
with lots of fantasy.
Out of huge quantities of records, some are played in the courtroom. In between some
of the accused are questioned alternately: if they recognize their voice or the voices
of others and what the phone conversations are about. The judge interrupts the trial
during two recordings to let the present interpreter translate them.
Altogether it gets clear, that the investigating SOKO-officers find every conversation
about other persons, money, traveling or giving someone directions relevant for their
investigations, and reinterpreted every conversation relevant for smugglers. After every
charge the concerned accused are asked, whether they plead guilty or not guilty.
The first accused says that he stands to his mistakes which were that he was helping
people and as long as he is still in Europe, he will not do this again. If he got something
for this? That would be very clear: eight months custody and a months taking court
Since 8 September 2014 they have been discussing anew every charge with all the
stated telephone recordings from the observation of the SOKO. Only two of the almost
50 charges were dealt during this day. Presumable, this court case will be going on for a
Report of the 25th day of trial on 18 September 2014
…and another day full of protocols from the telephone observation and questioning of
the accused. Probably one of many more that are awaiting us. On 24 September, the
next day of trial (which will start at 10 a.m.!) further dates of trial will be published.
Today the fifth defendant was questioned a lot, but also the first, fourth and sixth de-
fendant. It was discovered that one needs money for traveling and traveling by train is
more expensive than by car sharing. According to the statements of the defendants, the
person who gets a lift pays him_herself or someone transfers the money. Sometimes
even the defendant payed or money for a journey was collected in the Serviten monas-
tery. Criminal activities through and through.
For one of the defendants jokes and showing off on the telephone became a bit of a fate,
but he could explain credibly, that no one would pay 500 or 600 Euros from Vienna
to Germany. Besides, it was shortly discussed, that one of the defendants reported an
aquaintance to the police for tax evasion. The defendant stated that this was the reason
why someone wanted to trick him and bring him to court for smuggling with a wrong
The atmosphere in the courtroom was tense, again and again the accused and their
lawyers were reprimanded by the judge.
One question of a lay judge lead to bigger excitement: After one defendant told that
some people – strangers to him – talked to him at the train station because they
wanted to go to Italy, the lay judge asked, “How were you dressed? Like today, or was
it visible that you are Pakistani?“ This question with its cultural racist assumption that
the defendant would have to – according to his descent – dress differently caused a low
voiced sign of upset in the audience. After this the judge lost her patience and asked
one the trial observing person to either show her ID or leave the courtroom.
After this interruption the spectacle went on as usual – this time until 3.45pm.
Extract of the report of the 26th day of trial on 24 September 2014¹
After some time one of the defendants decides to refuse any further answers, stating
that this trial has already made him sick, he is not able to concentrate anymore and he
has got a headache. The trial has impact on his health and he doesn’t want to be part of
this game anymore. After this he answers only partly to the questions of the judge and
the state prosecutor.
It once again gets very clear that the goal of this trial is not to prove supposed evidence
(that doesn’t exist anyways), but to create evidence from the statements of the defen-
dants. For lack of evidence this trial has become an investigation procedure.
¹ The whole report can be found here
Report of the 27th day of trial on 25 September 2014
It was striking, that in some cases a single telephone protocol was used as evidence for
several charges. One person’s leaving the country was used to build several different
charges which is exemplary for the pompous indictment.
One fact that has been discussed today bases on so called “indication” of the police.
“Indications“ (compared to „facts“) are phone conversations which not even the police
could match to any specific “act of smuggling”, as admitted by chief investigator Martin
Unger. “Because of this,” one lawyer noted, “I don’t understand, why there is a charge
for this at all.“ It turned out during the questioning that the conversations were about
jobs for newspaper distribution.
The questions asked are always similar: Has the defendant helped someone to cross a
border? Did he get any money for it and if yes how much? Which status of residence
did the persons have? What was the relation between the accused and the person (rela-
tives, persons from the same village,…)?
Every question about the earnings was negated, sometimes the accused would have
even payed extra, lent money, donated clothing or food – they simply helped out.
When asked for the umpteenth time by the public prosecutor “Should you get some-
thing for organizing the lift?“ the fifth defendant replies, “Only love“.
Report of the 28th day of trial on 10 November 2014
Today started with a video conference. A witness, which was helped to get to Germany
by one of the defendants was questioned via Skype. He said that he was from the same
village as the defendant and that this person had helped him getting from Austria to
Germany. He was asked if he had payed anything for that? The witness replied that
no, the defendant had helped him, because they were from the same village. Besides,
the witness confirmed, what defendants had already said several times: Many people
from their home village in Pakistan had fled to Europe, the accused person had helped
where he could.
After almost an hour the questioning was finished and the rest of the day went on in
the usual manner: phone recordings were played, partly translated and the defendants
The charge VV has been continued and couldn’t get finished today. In this charge
several defendants are accused of smuggling 30 people form Germany to Italy. Only
through inaccuracies and double and triple counting the prosecution came to such
high numbers: Only two out of ten people were helped to leave Austria. But also here
it was negated that the defendants had got any money for this. Besides, four people
are accused of this charge and one of them only because he has a similar name to one
34person talking in a phone recording. In another defendant’s case there is no police
evidence at all for being accused.
Again some wrong translations were uncovered: For example in one conversation
people are talking about somebody being gone, but it is translated that they had been
“sent”. Another translation stated that one accused supposedly had said that he worked
with the “big smugglers in Hungary”. He actually said that he knew many people in
Report of the 30th day of trial on 1st October 2014
Groundhog day. From 9.10am to 3.10pm phone conversations were played, transla-
tions read and defendants questioned.
Today the charges DD, EE, FF, GG and HH were discussed. Mainly the first defendant
and the fourth one were questioned. Others got only a few questions.
Some of the telephone records were damaged. In some of today’s played conversations
only one participant was audible. The records had probably been handed over damaged
by police. The judge will give more information about this at the next day of trial.
Today especially one charge should be emphasized: One defendant was informed by
phone, that 22 persons had arrived in Vienna. Despite the fact that there is no evidence
that he or any other defendant had anything to do with these persons entering or leav-
ing the country, three persons are charged.
After one defendant was asked again about the support, he explained emphatically,
“When XY told me that his acquaintances from Traiskirchen or another camp would
come and asked, whether I could help, I would help him. That is a social relation. Please
don’t take it as an international organization!“
Today the word “guarantee“ was discussed, which has already been mentioned several
times in previous trials. One of the defendants explained that it was normal to leave
money with a trusted person during a stopover on your route of escape. If you then
needed the money for traveling on, they would send it to you. Often you give a verbal
promise, a verbal guarantee, for example for people of your village. So guarantees have
much more to do with building up trust, than with down payment, as it has been un-
derstood by the judge until now.
Besides, some of the defendants again and again noted in which situation this trial had
brought them. They had often paid train tickets from their own money and had never
got anything back. They said that supporting others had not been good for anything
but 8 months of prison..