News World Austrian activist raided over Christchurch links

Austrian activist raided over Christchurch links

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Martin Sellner, member of the Identitarian Movement, is being investigated for having possible ties to the Christchurch gunman. Photo: Getty
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Austrian authorities have searched the home of a prominent far-right activist as part of a probe into his ties to the alleged Christchurch mosque gunman.

Martin Sellner, head of the white nationalist group Identitarian Movement of Austria, said on social media that police searched his apartment on Monday.

Electronic devices were seized after Mr Sellner received a “disproportionately high donation” from a person named Tarrant, which is the surname as the accused Christchurch shooter.

Christoph Poelzl, spokesman for Austria’s Interior Ministry, confirmed Tuesday that the country’s domestic intelligence agency BVT searched the premises in Vienna at the request of prosecutors in the city of Graz.

Hansjoerg Bacher, a spokesman for Graz prosecutors, said they had stumbled across the donation as part of an existing probe into possible financial offences by Mr Sellner.

“The purpose of the investigation is to examine links between Mr. Sellner and the Christchurch attacker,” Mr Bacher told Associated Press.

He declined to confirm when the donation took place, but said it was much higher than other contributions made to Mr Sellner or his Identitarian Movement.

“Most donations were in the area of two-to-three figures, whereas this donation was in the low four-figure area,” Mr Bacher told AP. “This made it stand out, and the events in New Zealand put a face to this donation.”

“We need to determine whether there is a connection and if so, whether it’s criminally significant,” Mr Bacher said.

Mr Sellner denied having anything to do with the March 15 massacre, in which 50 Muslims were killed in the southern New Zealand city.

“I had nothing to do with the attack,” Mr Sellner said in a video statement posted on YouTube, adding that he would donate the money to a charity.

He suggested the reason for the donation might have been to provoke repressive measures against “patriots”.

Austrian authorities said last week that the Christchurch shooter visited Austria, but declined to confirm when or whether he met with any far-right activists during his trip.

Some of Tarrant’s anti-Muslim views are echoed by the Identitarian Movement. The group is close to sections of the nationalist Freedom Party, which is part of the country’s coalition government.


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