Homosexuelle Initiative (HOSI) Wien

1. Lesben- und Schwulenverband Österreichs

SOS freedom of speach

Conservative MP sues HOSI Wien activists

SOS freedom of expression

They have to face up to one year in jail; the legal costs for HOSI Wien may easily exceed € 10,000

Read here under introduction why legal actions have been brought against HOSI Wien.

Read here more background information about Austria’s appalling refusal to grant a legal entitlement to compensation to the homosexual Nazi victims.

HOSI Wien has launched a national and international support and solidarity campaign against this attempt to intimidate a critical NGO and against this attack on the freedom of expression. Read more about how you can support us under solidarity.

General remark: This English version is only a summary of the German language section “SOS Meinungsfreiheit”. If you do read German, please, also visit the German pages for more detailed information on this initiative.

April 2005: HOSI Wien acquitted!

In the criminal court trial on 28 April 2005, HOSI Wien, its president and its secretary-general were acquitted of the libel charges brought against them. However, ÖVP MP Walter Tancsits has appealed the decision, and presumably the case will continue before the Appeal Court in a few months. Press Release (German)

January 2006: Appeal court quashed aquittal and ordered new trial. Press Release (German)

New trial on 14 March 2006: Adjourned to 21 April 2006. Press Release (German)

HOSI Wien convicted on 21 April 2006. Press Release (German)

The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights that had sent an observer to both trials on 28 April 2005 (acquittal) and 21 April 2006 (conviction) criticised the conviction in a statement on 5 May 2006.

Finally acquitted by Appeals Court on 9 July 2007

On 9 July 2007, the Vienna Criminal Appeals Court surprisingly overturned the first instance conviction and acquitted both Kurt Krickler and HOSI Wien, thus also overturning its own decision of January 2006 when the same Court quashed the original acquittal (of April 2005) and ordered a new trial resulting in the conviction in April 2006.

“This is a great victory for freedom of speech and human rights in Austria”, Kurt Krickler said after the trial. “During the ÖVP/FPÖ/BZÖ governments (2000-2007), right-wing politicians have used (costly) defamation cases as a weapon to systematically silence and intimidate critical NGOs, journalists and political opponents. Recently some of these cases have finally been dealt with before the European Court of Human Rights, and Austria was convicted for violation of the right to freedom of expression in a quite long series of cases. Today, Austria has – behind Turkey – the highest record of such convictions in Strasbourg amongst all 47 member states of the Council of Europe! This makes our case so important because our acquittal may be the first sign of changing case-law at the national level.”

For more detailed information, you may read our press release in German