Thursday, November 27, 2008

Susanne Winter Loses Her Parliamentary Immunity

Austria has given Susanne Winter the Frank Vanhecke treatment.

As you may recall, Ms. Winter is a member of the FPÖ party in Austria who got herself into hot water by speaking negatively about Muslim immigrants and describing Mohammed as a child molester. This was too much for the Austrian political establishment, and the National Assembly moved to lift her parliamentary immunity, just as was done to Frank Vanhecke in Belgium.

Here’s what Die Presse said on Tuesday, the day before her case was decided (as translated by our Flemish correspondent VH):

Winter “welcomes the lifting of immunity”

The Immunity Committee of the National Assembly is expected to decide today on the handing over of the MPs Susanne Winter (FPÖ) and Peter Westenthaler (BZÖ) to the judiciary.

The Immunity Committee of the National Council will decide Tuesday whether immunity will be lifted from two parliamentary members, the FPÖ representative Susanne Winter, and former BZÖ leader Peter Westenthaler. It is expected that the committee will decide to hand them over to the judiciary.

[…]

Winter is to be sued over Islamophobic statements and because of citing hatred and vilifying religious teachings. She had said at an election event in Graz that the Islamic prophet Muhammad would be by today’s standards a child abuser, because he married a six year old.

Winter speaks of “political hatred”

The FPÖ representative said on Tuesday that she would welcome the lifting of immunity. “Only through the considerations of an independent court a clarification can be obtained on the issue,” Winter said in a broadcast. After all, their cause is clearly based on “political hatred by confused, self-proclaimed thought-guards.”

The Immunity Committee, as expected, voted yesterday to lift Ms. Winter’s immunity and leave her open to prosecution. Our Austrian correspondent ESW sends this report:
- - - - - - - - -
Last January Susanne Winter, the infamous local FPÖ politician, now a member of parliament, declared that:

“In today’s system” the Prophet Muhammad would be considered a “child molester,” apparently referring to his marriage to a six-year-old child. She also said that it is time for Islam to be “thrown back where it came from, behind the Mediterranean.”

She was heavily attacked and denounced for these — true — words. Muslims in Austria were outraged, Muslims outside Austria resorted to the usual reaction: death threats. Her own political party deserted her.

Winter was quickly indicted on charges of incitement and degradation of religious symbols and religious agitation, an offense which carries a maximum sentence of two years. In the meantime she has won a seat in parliament. Still, no official reaction from her party.

Yesterday, Winter’s parliamentary immunity was lifted a unanimous vote in the immunity committee of the Austrian parliament, meaning that members of FPÖ also voted for Winter’s immunity to be lifted. She will now be prosecuted for anti-Islam remarks she made during a provincial election campaign in January.

Winter said that she would welcome the lifting of her immunity since only court proceedings would enable her to clear her name. She called the imposition of charges against her an exercise in “political hatred by crazy, self-proclaimed thought-police.” It could not be, she added, that a person could be tried for expression of opinion in a democracy. There could be no political persecution in a country where the rule of law prevailed, she said, since such persecution could occur only in a “dictatorship of conscience.”

I asked an FPÖ parliamentary employee why the FPÖ would vote in favor of lifting Winter’s immunity, and thus acting against a party member. “Because it is considered a custom in (Austrian) parliamentarism.” However, there are underlying reasons for this decision, it was insinuated.

I proceeded to explain to this young man the significance of a potential sentence: If Winter is convicted on charges of blasphemy and degradation of a religious symbols, it would mean the complete loss of freedom of speech in Austria and another victory in the international jihad against free speech currently aggressively waged by Muslims (see Robert Spencer’s latest book Stealth Jihad for more).

Winter’s conviction would also mean that I or other counterjihadists would face charges similar to Winter’s and it would set a terrible legal precedent. This must not happen under any circumstances, which is why I am currently urging the FPÖ to carefully prepare arguments for Winter’s trial.

This could even help FPÖ gain acceptance if one battle against legal jihad is won here in Austria. Currently, no one in FPÖ is aware of the significance of the trial’s outcome. Be assured that members of the Austrian Counterjihad are working hard to convince the FPÖ of this significance. Our very freedom depends on Winter not losing. If she loses, we are all lost.

10 comments:

Czechmade said...

She was accused of:

1) islamfeindliche Aussagen - islam-enemic utterings, utt. enemical to islam
2) Verhetzung - sedition
3) Herabwürdigung religiöser Lehren
demeaning of religious teachings (plural!)

1) Someone decided we must be friendly to islam? Who did it? When?

2) She attacks. Why not "defends"?

3) demeaning of "religious teachings"
This generalization implies she threatens all teachings indirectly, in islam, outside islam as well?
Even distribution of holiness...was stipulated by whom, when?

In Austria islam was registered (unlike in Germany) as a church (Kirche) in times of Austrian rule of Bosnia.

Does it mean the law protects a "church" in this case as well, some by mistake extended relic of glorious catholic past, later accepting other churches, then imagining islam as a church automatically? On what basis?

It would be interesting to study the original idea of Habsburg Austria to include islam as a "church".

This is by itself total demeaning of islam. OK maybe too abstract for muslims, but anyhow we could stir some imams to comment on this "treacherous christian blasphemy".

Umma is not a church, one among many. No polychurchism please.

thll said...

Is this necessarily a bad thing? Certainly it is the very antithesis of freedom - but every cause of any importance needs its martyrs.

Yorkshireminer said...

I presume that she will be tried under Roman law a set of judges. Belgium if my memory serves me correctly has a dual system depending on the court or the crime. We in the Anglo Saxon world have basically a Jury system. 12 good men and true generally have a more commonsensical attitude to too the hair spitting interpretation of the law by the legal profession. This is obviously a political trial (witch hunt). I very much doubt if Nick Griffen of the BNP (British National Party) would have been exonerated for the crime of calling Islam a wicked and cruel religion if he had been tried before politicised judges. let us hope that this doesn't happen in Austria. Money talks and Saudi Money talks big time.

John Sobieski said...

yes a trial by judges would be a guilty sentence. I dread these blasphemy laws in America (if the left and the mohammedans get their way.)

Conservative Swede said...

Funny thing this thing with immunity that according to MSM is an invention of Berlusconi to make a special law for himself to protect himself. Which all people believe in, including 99% of the right-wingers -- SINCE IT'S IN THE MSM !!!

But in fact such immunitry is in place in every country, in one way or the other, except for in Italy; until Berlusconi reinstalled it again.

But that's not how media spinned it. And everybody fell for it, including 99% of the people claiming to be critical of MSM. Well, as usually... It's one thing to have a general sort of idea of being critical of MSM, and a completely other to actually know something. And people in general know very little. So the MSM gets their way with them anyhow, and its lies and distortions are internalized, and even passionately defended. Should I mention Russia here too...

Czechmade said...

The behaviour of a certain "prophet" is a law. It would be more simple to anticipate our critical comments by making a catalogue of "prophets" crimes and link all modern laws to them banning and punishing such a behaviour.

A nice clear book to read before getting over the border. A reading room could be set up on our borders. It would mean of course "humiliating the muslim".

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

Just fyi, there is not, and I believe never has been, any doctrine of parliamentary immunity from criminal proceedings in the UK, on the (now theoretical) principle that nobody is above the law. However, parliamentary privilege prevents any civil actions against a sitting member. This idea of immunity for politicians seems to be a continental one.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

I should add that the parliamentary privilege also protects members from accusations and prosecution for criminal slander, so they have rather more leeway for saying things in parliament than we have outside. The privilege can't be revoked by a vote because it sets an unfortunate precedent that could be turned against other members. It also, effectively, moderates any sort of speech legislation that parliament might pass; since members aren't immune from criminal prosecution, and since speech legislation takes any speech out of the realms of slander and into the realms of criminal activity, any speech legislation passed would also apply to parliamentarians.

Of course none of this applies outside parliament. They have no privilege to anything outside the walls of Westminster Palace.

Henrik Ræder said...

This is, objectively, wrong. The protection exists exactly to protect the members from frivoluos lawsuits, and this is a perfect example of one - the thing is skating on thin ice and a marginal interpretation of laws.

Parliamentary immunity should only be removed in case of serious offenses, like corruption and other more obviously criminal acts.

Weird how the understanding of the protection is slipping.

Andrew said...

Amazing!
Did she or did she not speak the truth?

What if someone belonged to religion that made mickey mouse his deity? So, if a politician made a statement that mickey mouse is a fool then said person can send this politician to prison?

Lets be straight about this. The muslim religion to many is a paraiah. Its a book of conquest of other nations. Their culture is incompatible to ours, so how come some useful idiot can use our laws against us when it suits them?