The first step towards early release: Josef Fritzl should be put into normal prison
He is one of Austria’s most famous criminals. Now a court has granted Josef Fritzl a relaxation of his detention – an important step towards an early release.
The incest and abuse complex surrounding Josef Fritzl is still well remembered by many people. Fritzl had kept his daughter Elisabeth captive in a basement dungeon for 24 years, regularly abused her and fathered seven children with her.
Only when the seriously ill eldest daughter was admitted in April 2008 did the crime come to light. Three of the surviving children were raised by him and his wife in their home, the others had to live with their mother in the basement, never seeing the light of day. Another child died shortly after birth.
Josef Fritzl: Reduced detention and conditional release soon?
Since being sentenced to life imprisonment in March 2009, Fritzl has been held in the Krems-Stein prison, which is intended for “mentally abnormal offenders”. However, a court in Austria has now granted him a relaxation of his detention in the first instance. The 87-year-old could be released from the measures into the so-called normal execution subject to conditions.
An important decision for Fritzl: Fritzl would have to continue to serve his life sentence in normal prison. However, he could apply for a conditional release for the first time after 15 years in prison. In the case of Josef Fritzl, according to the Austrian news agency APA 2023, this is the case.
Transfer not yet legally binding
The transfer is not yet legally binding: the public prosecutor’s office filed an objection with suspensive effect, and the matter was referred to the Vienna Higher Regional Court. For the time being, Fritzl remains in the enforcement of measures, in which a number of personal rights are restricted.
According to the APA, Fritzl’s release to normal prison had already been ordered by the Krems court at the end of September 2021 because, according to an expert opinion, he no longer posed any danger. But even then, the public prosecutor’s office raised an objection. As a result, the present supplementary report was prepared.