Austria's police raid on intelligence agency was legal, officials say

  • Martin Macq
  • 16.3.2018 11:28

On 14 March, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache issued clarifications with regard to the legal aspects of the Police raid on Austria’s BVT domestic intelligence agency, preciously carried out on 28 February. On 13 March, Austria’s interior minister Herbert Kickl, and member of the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), suspended BVT's head Peter Gridling from his duties, citing possible violations of procedure including mishandling and failure to delete sensitive data reports say the agency had on right-wing groups.

The police raid was part of an investigation into five BVT staff members, including Peter Gridling, suspected of abuse of power and breach of professional secrecy, stated justice minister Josef Moser (ÖVP). This issue could cause divisions within the government and even within the leading Austrian People’s Party, whose security spokesman stressed that the police raid was not a normal procedure. Opposition figures from the Austrian Green Party (Die Grünen), and Austria’s president Alexander Van der Bellen, expressed concerns over this FPÖ-led policy raid, fearing an attempt by the far-right party to secure intelligence on right-wing groups. Questioned on the legality of the action by the Green Party legislators  Kickl and Moser rejected accusations of any political motivation for the carried out operation.

About author: Martin Macq

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