The issue that caused the most uproar in the Austrian press — and which figured prominently in the charge on which Elisabeth was eventually convicted — concerned the prophet Muhammad’s “thing for little girls:
• Q: You are accused of making the following statements, among others: “Muslims rape children because of their religion”, or “Muhammad enjoyed contact with children.” Why the polemics?
• A: This is a clever strategy. You and all the others who are now crying wolf are locked in a choice of words. As a result you are able to maneuver yourselves away from the main point. It is a fact that Muhammad married a six-year-old at the age of 56. To this day men in Islamic countries view this as legitimizing marriage to a minor, thereby causing rape and life-long trauma. This is the problem we need to address, and not how circumscribe this bitter reality.
The complainant in the case against Elisabeth was not the state, but NEWS magazine itself, the publication whose reporter had infiltrated the seminar. For the next ten months the possibility of a formal charge was left hanging over Elisabeth’s head, but she received no official word about what might happen to her. All she could do was retain legal counsel and wait.
In February 2010 she gave a deposition to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Prevention of Terrorism. After that there was nothing from the prosecutor’s office. Finally, on September 15, Elisabeth learned that a formal charge would be filed against her. Ironically enough, she didn’t find out through a court document, an official summons, or her lawyer. Instead she learned of the charge by reading about it in the press — in NEWS, the very same magazine that had published the undercover report and filed the complaint against her.
I just had a long talk with my legal representation. This is a huge judicial scandal. My lawyer has tried to get the documents detailing my case and the charges. In vain. The public prosecutor cited “computer problems”, the clerks said there is a note in my case that nothing is to be made public (wonder why the media knew about it then), and he was shoved from clerk to clerk, getting nothing. So far we know that I will be tried, but nothing else.
I have nothing whatsoever in my hands. I cannot defend myself at the moment because neither my lawyer nor I know the precise charges.
It makes me wonder about our judicial system. It is outrageous that the media in both Germany and Austria knew about this before the accused.
A few days later she received official notice from the court: her trial date would be November 23, 2010.
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