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News > World

Far-Right Austrian Probed for Links to New Zealand Shooter

  • Flower tributes are pictured outside Al-Noor mosque after it was reopened in Christchurch, New Zealand.

    Flower tributes are pictured outside Al-Noor mosque after it was reopened in Christchurch, New Zealand. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 March 2019

"I had nothing to do with the attack," said Sellner, though he acknowledged receiving a 1,500 donation ​from whom investigators believe was the NZ shooter.

Austrian authorities have registered the home of a well-known far-right activist in Vienna for possible connections with the confessed author of the Christchurch attack in New Zealand, suspected white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, who massacred 50 people in two mosques with a semi-automatic gun 15 days ago.

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The Interior Ministry spokesman, Christoph Polzl, told EFE Tuesday that the search was carried out Monday afternoon by anti-terrorism agents by order of the Prosecutor's Office in Graz, which is investigating the case.

The news came to light when Martin Sellner, a leader of a far-right of white nationalist group, stated in a YouTube video that his home in Vienna had been raided and his mobile phone seized with other electronic devices.

Authorities’ suspicion was based on a donation of roughly 1,500 euros (approximately US$1690) that Sellner would have received from a person now believed to be identified as Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian white supremacist arrested for being the perpetrator a mass slaughter of innocent Muslim worshippers.

In his social media video, Sellner denied any connection to the attack and highlighted the fact that he is being investigated on suspicion of "participation in a terrorist organization," an accusation that the Prosecutor's Office has confirmed as "provisional" and that could be modified in light of whatever the investigation reveals.

"I had nothing to do with the attack," said Sellner, although he acknowledged receiving the aforementioned donation, which had already attracted the authorities' attention because it was higher than usual ones, which usually do not exceed more than three digits.

Last week, Austrian authorities confirmed that Tarrant had visited Austria, possibly late last November, on a trip to Europe, but details of his visit are unknown.

Sellner is a well-known figure in the Austrian far-right movement and among his controversial actions one in 2017 when he chartered a ship in the Mediterranean that tried to prevent the boats of the NGOs from rescuing immigrants and refugees adrift.

The Ultras' ship was retained in Cyprus in the summer of 2017 and the captain arrested - subsequently released - on charges of having illegal Sri Lankan refugees on board - the crew was of that nationality - and false documents. The ship and its crew from Sri Lanka were abandoned by the right-wing extremists. Red Cross had to help them in Barcelona in Oct. 2017 because they were left without resources or fuel.

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