Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Daughter ‘saw Fritzl in court’

Josef Fritzl held his daughter captive for 24 years
Josef Fritzl is seen during a break on the second day of his trial at the country court of St. Poelten on March 17, 2009 in St. Poelten, Austria

Austria was swamped with conflicting reports about whether Elisabeth Fritzl appeared in a closed court in person on Tuesday to witness her father’s reaction to a videotaped interview played to jurors in which she gave a devastating account of her ordeal.

Court officials refused to confirm or deny claims that she had appeared, but intimated that she had been present on Tuesday by insisting that she had definitely not been in court yesterday.

Fritzl’s lawyer Rudolf Mayer adopted similar tactics by refusing to confirm or deny her presence, saying: “I am not the right person to ask.” However, he later confirmed that three important victims of Fritzl had been in court yesterday.

Austria’s Draconian privacy laws are behind the secrecy. As a condition of the trial, the judicial authorities have banned all media coverage concerning the whereabouts of Josef Fritzl’s victims to ensure that they remained protected.

By not saying whether Elisabeth was in court or not, the court officials and lawyers were simply keeping to the letter of the law.

That said, it can be assumed that she was in court — together with her brother Harald, who also gave video testimony yesterday, and another brother or sister.

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