Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 16 October 2019

Christchurch attacker gave cash to Austrian far-right movement

Austria's Identitarian Movement received €1,500 from a donor with the same name as the man charged over the mosque attacks

Sebastian Kurz, Austria's chancellor, arrives at a European Union (EU) leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday, March 22, 2019. Bloomberg
Sebastian Kurz, Austria's chancellor, arrives at a European Union (EU) leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday, March 22, 2019. Bloomberg

Austria's far-right Identitarian Movement received cash from the man charged with killing 50 people in mass shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, the country's chancellor said on Wednesday.

"We can now confirm that there was financial support and so a link between the New Zealand attacker and the Identitarian Movement in Austria," Sebastian Kurz said.

A spokesman for prosecutors in Graz said the head of the movement, Martin Sellner, received €1,500 (Dh6,200) in early 2018 from a donor with the same name as the man charged over the March 15 Christchurch attacks.

Mr Sellner published two videos on YouTube in which he said he had received a donation involving an email address that matched the name of the Australian.

In one of the videos, he said: "I'm not a member of a terrorist organisation. I have nothing to do with this man, other than that I passively received a donation from him."

Mr Sellner said the donation was from early 2018 and that he would give it to a charitable foundation.

He said police had raided his house over the possible links to the attacker.

The Identitarians, who say they want to preserve Europe's identity, are a relatively new, far-right movement that uses the internet to promote their action on the streets.

They imitate the tactics of more established activist groups such as Greenpeace.

In 2017 they helped to charter a ship as part of what they said was a campaign to defend Europe, and they have tried to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Libya.

Hansjoerg Bacher, a spokesman for the Graz prosecutors, said an investigation was under way as to whether there were links between Mr Sellner and the mosque attacker.

The Austrian Interior Ministry declined to comment. Mr Kurz said Austria was looking at dissolving the Identitarian Movement.

"Our position on this is very clear," he said. "No kind of extremism whatsoever has any place in our society."

On Tuesday, Mr Kurz said on Twitter that any connection between the Christchurch attacker and members of the Identitarian Movement in Austria needed to be fully clarified.

Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, of the far-right Freedom Party, said his political group had nothing to do with the Identitarian Movement.

New Zealand has announced a royal commission into the attack on two mosques in Christchurch.

A white supremacist has been charged with one count of murder over the Christchurch shootings and will next appear in court on April 5.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said the man was not on any watch lists in New Zealand or Australia.

Updated: March 28, 2019 02:42 AM

SHARE

SHARE