Anti-terrorism: Austria approves thought-crime bill
21 April 2010
Austria has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy with regard to terrorists and radicals. On 20 April, the federal cabinet approved an anti-terrorist bill, which will make it an offence to stay in a terrorist camp or voice support for terrorist actions. Of course, "the state wants to impose more severe sentences on the ‘preachers of hatred,'" remarks Die Presse, but a two-year jail term for someone who expresses admiration for the courage of a kamikaze in private raises the question of what actually constitutes terrorism. Worse still, the Viennese daily also notes that the bill extends the concept of defamation to include "any malicious (or nasty) remark that targets an individual's sex, age, sexual orientation, ideology or handicap," which leads Die Presse to wonder about the status of "carnival speakers." The daily warns its readers "that the gradual erosion of civil liberties is a much more present danger than a sudden shift to totalitarianism," and recommends "immediate protest" against the bill.