Monday, May 5, 2008

Incest, Rape, Locked in Cellar, Stunned a Nation

Josef Fritzl, 73, the Austrian man accused of abusing his imprisoned daughter for 24 years, should not go to jail as he is mentally ill, according to Rudolf Mayer, his lawyer. Mr. Mayer says his client should be in a psychiatric unit rather than facing a trial, which will not be fair due to press coverage of the case.

Mr. Mayer added that if a psychiatric evaluation of Mr. Fritzl ordered by the court does not give a proper assessment of his client, he will consider ordering a separate report himself. He said, "In my personal opinion, Josef Fritzl is mentally ill and therefore of diminished responsibility. I believe that my client does not belong in prison but in a secure psychiatric unit … not defending a monster but a human being, even if that is hard to take for some people. I am already receiving threatening letters saying that I belong in the cellar with Mr. Fritzl."

Austrian police said, Mr Fritzl, who is in custody, has confessed to the crime in a written statement, and he is refusing to answer any more questions, as police try to piece together conditions in the cellar - as well as the suspect's life. He incarcerated and raped his daughter Elisabeth in his cellar in Amstetten in Lower Austria. Elisabeth bore her father seven children -- three of whom remained with her, never seeing daylight until they were released earlier this week. Mr. Fritzl's alleged crimes came to light when Elisabeth's eldest daughter Kerstin, 19, became seriously ill.

Kerstin was allowed out of the cellar and admitted to hospital in Amstetten. When police issued an appeal to Elisabeth Fritzl to contact them about her daughter, and later police picked up Mr. Fritzl and Elisabeth near the hospital due to suspicions. Elisabeth and the children are now in care with the Austrian authorities, who are protecting their privacy at a psychiatric clinic.

A relative of Mr. Fritzl says he was convicted of another rape in 1967. Under Austrian law, convictions can be discarded from the record even after as short as five years. Police have declined to comment on the allegations, saying records that old, would have been erased under Austria's statutes of limitation.(Please click the images to enlarge)

Christine R, a sister-in-law, told newspapers, “… He is a tyrant and I believe he spent a year and half in prison for the conviction (his rape case in 1967)… Mr. Fritzl used to go into the cellar every morning at 0900 apparently to draw plans for machines, which he sold to firms … Often he even stayed down there for the night … Rosi [his wife] wasn't allowed to bring him a coffee … Mr Fritzl ‘was a despot, I hated him’… he ‘always belittled’ his wife Rosemarie."

Alfred Dubanovsky, a lodger at the Austrian house where a father allegedly imprisoned and abused his daughter says he saw another man go to the cellar where the abuse happened. He rented a room in the Fritzl house for 12 years. He and other lodgers were forbidden to go down to the cellar under threat of eviction. In his ground floor room he heard noises coming from the cellar, but Mr Fritzl passed it off as the gas heating system. He assumed the basement was being used as a storeroom because a neighbour said Mr Fritzl often took food down to the cellar.

According to police investigators, “they have found two heavily reinforced concrete doors that could only be opened by remote control … They are open now, but we are trying to get another way out of this room because the working conditions in this prison are so exceptional … officers could work there only one hour and during this hour they try, one team after the other, to gather everything available in this living space … the work was overwhelming and oppressive for investigators."

In Austria, there are three cases so far involving people being locked in cellars. Among those drawing parallels with, was the case of Natascha Kampusch, who was 10 years old when she was kidnapped in Vienna in March 2, 1998 who made a dramatic escape in August 23, 2006. Her captor, Wolfgang Priklopil, 44, killed himself after her escape. She told the BBC that Elisabeth Fritzl and her family would need "a lot of silence" to recover, adding: "Time heals all wounds."

In an earlier case, a Vienna couple kept their mentally retarded adopted daughter caged in a cold room like an animal, and "These cases shocked the nation," as quoted from Austrian newspaper.

What do you think, after all those horrible things he had done, does he just deserve to stay in a secured psychiatric ward?


Christine R, sister-in-law of Josef Fritzl



Rudolf Mayer, lawyer of J. Fritzl

Sources: BBC news


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2 comments:

Tahn said...

This is so disturbing.

VNTuongLai said...

You’re invited to view my latest video “Sex Slavery & Murder.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9ovgI5Ry9s