Austria has given Susanne Winter the Frank Vanhecke treatment.
As you may recall, Ms. Winter is a member of the FPÖ party in Austria who got herself into hot water by speaking negatively about Muslim immigrants and describing Mohammed as a child molester. This was too much for the Austrian political establishment, and the National Assembly moved to lift her parliamentary immunity, just as was done to Frank Vanhecke in Belgium.
Here’s what Die Presse said on Tuesday, the day before her case was decided (as translated by our Flemish correspondent VH):
Winter “welcomes the lifting of immunity”
The Immunity Committee of the National Assembly is expected to decide today on the handing over of the MPs Susanne Winter (FPÖ) and Peter Westenthaler (BZÖ) to the judiciary.
The Immunity Committee of the National Council will decide Tuesday whether immunity will be lifted from two parliamentary members, the FPÖ representative Susanne Winter, and former BZÖ leader Peter Westenthaler. It is expected that the committee will decide to hand them over to the judiciary.
Winter is to be sued over Islamophobic statements and because of citing hatred and vilifying religious teachings. She had said at an election event in Graz that the Islamic prophet Muhammad would be by today’s standards a child abuser, because he married a six year old.
Winter speaks of “political hatred”
The FPÖ representative said on Tuesday that she would welcome the lifting of immunity. “Only through the considerations of an independent court a clarification can be obtained on the issue,” Winter said in a broadcast. After all, their cause is clearly based on “political hatred by confused, self-proclaimed thought-guards.”
The Immunity Committee, as expected, voted yesterday to lift Ms. Winter’s immunity and leave her open to prosecution. Our Austrian correspondent ESW sends this report:
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Last January Susanne Winter, the infamous local FPÖ politician, now a member of parliament, declared that:
“In today’s system” the Prophet Muhammad would be considered a “child molester,” apparently referring to his marriage to a six-year-old child. She also said that it is time for Islam to be “thrown back where it came from, behind the Mediterranean.”
She was heavily attacked and denounced for these — true — words. Muslims in Austria were outraged, Muslims outside Austria resorted to the usual reaction: death threats. Her own political party deserted her.
Winter was quickly indicted on charges of incitement and degradation of religious symbols and religious agitation, an offense which carries a maximum sentence of two years. In the meantime she has won a seat in parliament. Still, no official reaction from her party.
Yesterday, Winter’s parliamentary immunity was lifted a unanimous vote in the immunity committee of the Austrian parliament, meaning that members of FPÖ also voted for Winter’s immunity to be lifted. She will now be prosecuted for anti-Islam remarks she made during a provincial election campaign in January.
Winter said that she would welcome the lifting of her immunity since only court proceedings would enable her to clear her name. She called the imposition of charges against her an exercise in “political hatred by crazy, self-proclaimed thought-police.” It could not be, she added, that a person could be tried for expression of opinion in a democracy. There could be no political persecution in a country where the rule of law prevailed, she said, since such persecution could occur only in a “dictatorship of conscience.”
I asked an FPÖ parliamentary employee why the FPÖ would vote in favor of lifting Winter’s immunity, and thus acting against a party member. “Because it is considered a custom in (Austrian) parliamentarism.” However, there are underlying reasons for this decision, it was insinuated.
I proceeded to explain to this young man the significance of a potential sentence: If Winter is convicted on charges of blasphemy and degradation of a religious symbols, it would mean the complete loss of freedom of speech in Austria and another victory in the international jihad against free speech currently aggressively waged by Muslims (see Robert Spencer’s latest book Stealth Jihad for more).
Winter’s conviction would also mean that I or other counterjihadists would face charges similar to Winter’s and it would set a terrible legal precedent. This must not happen under any circumstances, which is why I am currently urging the FPÖ to carefully prepare arguments for Winter’s trial.
This could even help FPÖ gain acceptance if one battle against legal jihad is won here in Austria. Currently, no one in FPÖ is aware of the significance of the trial’s outcome. Be assured that members of the Austrian Counterjihad are working hard to convince the FPÖ of this significance. Our very freedom depends on Winter not losing. If she loses, we are all lost.