Le petit flambeau

L'Autriche vue par un universitaire français…

Tilgungsfrist, whitewashing & blanchiment…

The question which interests me in the Amstetten case is whether or not there is something Austrian in it. As I wrote in the previous entry of this blog, it would be naïve just to link the Kampusch story with the Fritzl one and write on “Austria” or “Austrians”. Of course, there is no monopoly on cruelty. I tried therefore to see first what Austrian writers had to say about the case, and it appeared that the “look-away” (Wegschauen) culture played a role as well as the habit of obeying social codes and staying unnoticed.

Now, there is also a matter-of-fact analysis which might be interesting for social scientists , namely the way Austrian law foresees the whitewashing of criminal records. The Amstetten guy, Josef Fritzl, had been convicted in 1967 of having raped a woman. He had been sentenced to (only) 18 months in jail but when he asked for the adoption right to one of his (grand)children, his criminal record had been completely erased. It’s the so called “Tilgungfrist”: whatever sentence you received (apart from lifelong prison), after 15 years it’s just wiped off your criminal record. Fritzl could easily adopt or obtain the legal care of three of his seven (grand)children, social services never had a chance to know about his past.

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8 mai 2008 Posted by | Autriche | , , , , , , , , | Un commentaire