Sunday, 24 July 2011

Austrian Pro-Lifers Fined for Allegedly Stalking Abortionist

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gavelA judge in Graz, Austria, has fined the head of the Austrian branch of Human Life International, Dietmar Fischer, and three sidewalk counselors over $12,000 for allegedly stalking abortion doctor Johannes Hanfstingl. Interestingly, Judge Erik Nauta levied the fine against the four pro-life activists after the doctor informed him that he had not been stalked.

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula, interim President of Human Life International, declared: "The complete bias and disregard for the facts in this ruling show the extent to which anti-life advocates, including judges, will go to perpetuate the culture of death. This is the kind of persecution HLI’s pro-life missionaries around the world face on a daily basis."

The HLI counselors said that they were simply offering literature and advice to women on the sidewalk in front of the abortion business, as is their standard procedure. Joannes Bucher, Human Life International’s Regional Director for Europe, explained that the HLI's head Dietmar Fischer was not even with the other three pro-lifers:

Dietmar is accused of offering, for free, eleven week old baby models, support flyers for pregnant mothers and rosaries for the pregnant counseling centre in Graz. These pro-life resources were given as support from HLI Austria, but Dietmar himself was never in Graz to counsel women in front of this abortion centre.

Judge Nauta’s conviction, which was handed down in April, is on appeal, but if that appeal fails and Fischer cannot pay the heavy fine, then he could face three months in jail. HLI interim President Barriero observed,

The appeal currently underway is based on the fact that all of the witnesses for the prosecution, including the abortionist, admit that Mr. Fischer did not stalk the abortionist, but merely supplied leaflets and materials to the counselors.

Dietmar Fischer added:

Look at the testimonies. The abortionist Dr. Hanfstingl told the court that we did not "stalk" him, and that we only wanted to inform the women going to the clinic about pro-life resources.

According to LifeSiteNews.com,

Austrian pro-lifers have urged pro-life activists worldwide to express their concerns to Austrian Minister of Justice Beatrix Karl at

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