A 32-year-old Slovenian has confessed to supplying a Tokarev pistol and ammunition to the terrorist responsible for the November 2020 attack in Vienna. However, a serious error by the judiciary has resulted in the exclusion of the assault rifle from the trial. The defendant acknowledged the charges against him but maintained that he did not directly hand over the pistol to the attacker and was unaware of his intentions. As a result, he has been sentenced to nine months in prison for three violations of the Weapons Act.
During a brief hearing, the court found the man guilty of illegally possessing and transferring the handgun and ammunition. The judge informed him that he could avoid imprisonment if he maintains good conduct for the next three years. Although the defendant accepted the sentence, the prosecutor refrained from making a statement, indicating that the judgment is not yet final.
The Vienna terrorist attack claimed the lives of four pedestrians, with the assailant using the pistol provided by the Slovenian supplier. Regrettably, the trial no longer encompasses the Zastava M70 assault rifle, which is based on the Kalashnikov AK-47 technology. The exclusion of this crucial evidence stems from an “unacceptable error” committed by the Vienna public prosecutor’s office, as acknowledged by Justice Minister Alma Zadic.
In a previous mishap in 2021, the prosecution mistakenly dropped a case related to the Slovenian defendant, absolving him of responsibility for supplying the Zastava rifle in June 2020, potentially violating the War Material Act. Consequently, the defendant is now facing charges solely under the Weapons Act for the handgun, resulting in a reduced punishment range. If convicted, the arms dealer could face a maximum prison term of two years.
The trial’s outcome remains uncertain as the judgment is not yet final. The prosecutor’s lack of statement during the hearing suggests that further legal considerations may be in play. As the case progresses, the severity of the punishment for the defendant will be determined, taking into account the reduced charges under the Weapons Act.
The Vienna terrorist attack, which claimed the lives of innocent pedestrians, stands as a tragic reminder of the devastating consequences of terrorism. As authorities continue their efforts to hold all parties involved accountable, there is a pressing need for improved coordination, intelligence sharing, and stricter regulations to prevent the proliferation of firearms and ensure the safety of communities.
As of now, the 32-year-old remains at large, as the Vienna public prosecutor’s office did not request his arrest. The recent revelation of the prosecutor’s office error has prompted Justice Minister Zadic to initiate an administrative review and introduce internal supervision enhancements, as well as implement structural changes within the Vienna prosecutor’s office to prevent future mistakes.