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Former neo-Nazi leader arrested in Austrian probe

12 april 2011, 16:32
Gottfried Kuessel. Photo courtesy of stopptdierechten.at
Gottfried Kuessel. Photo courtesy of stopptdierechten.at
A former Austrian neo-Nazi leader, Gottfried Kuessel, was arrested overnight in connection with a probe into a website targeted by the country's strict anti-Nazi law, AFP reports citing prosecutors.

Kuessel, 52, former leader of the now-banned neo-Nazi group VAPO, was believed to be one of the main figures behind the alpen-donau.info website, a key forum for Austria's neo-Nazi movement that was shut down in March.

Half a dozen house searches were conducted late Monday in Vienna and southern Styria province, during which investigators seized documents, computers, hard-disks, weapons and Nazi paraphernalia, Vienna prosecution spokesman Thomas Vecsey said.

A second person was also arrested, he added.

The prosecution noted it had received help from US investigators to gain access to the website's servers, which were based in the United States and were long out of reach for the Austrian authorities.

Kuessel was leader of the Volkstreue Ausserparlamentarische Opposition group (extra-parliamentary opposition loyal to the people) in the 1990s, before it was banned under Austria's anti-Nazi law.

Sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1993 for Nazi propaganda, he was released in 1999 after six years for good conduct.

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