Austrian Man Who Flew Kite With Nazi Symbols Sentenced to Two Years in Jail

The 22-year old male was previously convicted under Austria's anti-Nazi laws, which prohibit glorifying the Hitler era.

File photo: Protesters gathering outside Adolf Hitler's old house in Austria. April 18, 2015.
JOE KLAMAR/AFP

An Austrian court has sentenced a man who flew a kite displaying a swastika to two years in prison for contravening anti-Nazi laws.

The 22-year old was charged last year after launching the kite showing Nazi symbols in downtown Salzburg, near the German border. He subsequently stuck handwritten Nazi slogans on the walls of his cell while in investigative custody.

The man had already spent three months in prison on another conviction under Austria's anti-Nazi laws, which prohibit glorifying the Hitler era, before Thursday's court decision.

He is not being identified due to privacy laws.

The Austrian Forum Against Anti-Semitism, which began monitoring anti-Semitic incidents in 2003, said 465 incidents were recorded during 2015, over 200 of them being internet postings hostile to Jews. 

The total number of internet postings reported to Austria's constitutional protection authority as offensive remained stable in 2015, but the number of postings liable to be used in criminal proceedings doubled compared to 2014, according to an interior ministry spokesman. 

"The whole picture is terrifying," Oskar Deutsch, president of the Jewish Communities of Austria (IKG), said in April of 2016. 

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) urged the European Union and its member states in January 2016 to increase efforts to combat widespread anti-Semitic cyber hate, arguing that anti-Semitism in the region did not show any sign of waning.