6 on trial in Vienna for links to the gunman in the 2020 attack

VIENNA (AP) – Six men went on trial in Vienna on Tuesday for alleged ties to an Islamic State sympathizer who carried out a deadly shooting in the Austrian capital in 2020.

The verdict at the trial before the State Court in Vienna is expected in February at the earliest, the public service ORF reported.

Four people were killed in the attack on November 2, 2020, and the attacker was also killed. More than 20 people were injured, including a police officer. The attacker, Kujtim Fejzulai, a dual citizen of Austria and North Macedonia, was previously convicted of trying to join IS in Syria.

The six men whose trial began on Tuesday were not charged with direct involvement in the attack, but are said to have aided or influenced Faizulai as he prepared for the shooting.

The defendants, aged between 22 and 32, face charges that include participation in terrorist crimes and membership in a terrorist organization. The eldest is accused of securing two firearms for Fejzulai through an intermediary in 2020. Austrian media reported that the DNA of the suspects helped in the indictment.

One defense lawyer, Manfred Arbacher-Stoeger, said his client was a close friend of the attacker but never contributed to the attack in any way and would maintain his innocence. Another lawyer, Astrid Wagner, said her client had provided an assault rifle and would plead guilty to illegal arms trafficking, but he “knew nothing about the attack plan” or the “terrorist background” of the gunman.

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