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Austrian Times exposes campaigner abuses

After the Austrian Times exposed the plight of 10 animal rights campaigners jailed without charge by the Austrian government to our international audience, we were contacted by hundreds of readers in Britain, the US and Canada expressing their disgust with the so-called ‘Austrian Guantanamo’ case.

All letters were passed on to the Austrian Interior Ministry to add to the pressure that was mounting on the government to end its 110 day siege of the country’s animal rights movement.

Here in Austria, British teacher Paula Stibbe was campaigning for their release, but says most Austrian media simply swallowed the repeated State Prosecutor’s statements referring to the campaigners as a ‘large criminal organization’. She said: “Few media questioned the government’s standard statement which hasn’t changed in three months. The fact Austrian Times was one of the few papers to actually got to the bones of the story helped Martin and the other campaigners immensely.”

And it was not just Dr Balluch's Association against Animal Factories (VGT) that was targeted by the government campaign. Paula highlights that the Austrian Vegan Society, which shares an office building with the VGT, was also raided unnecessarily by the government - causing extensive damage to the organisation's equipment.

But Paula believes that government documents leaked last Friday that exposed the state's explicit demands to police to put a stop to Balluch’s animal rights organization - even though the police had explained that their investigation had turned up nothing illegal - helped awaken the Austrian press. She said, “It really shook them up because it exposed the government campaign to smear Martin and oppress the animal rights movement at any cost.”

Dr Balluch has expressed his thanks to the Austrian Times team for exposing his case and says he is looking forward to restarting his projects with the VGT.

Kosty Steblovski


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