Case Law Database

Participation in an organized criminal group


• Participation in criminal activities of organized criminal group

Smuggling of migrants


• Enabling illegal entry
• Financial or other material benefit (to smuggler)

(Servitenkloster Smuggling Case)

Fact Summary

This case relates to a group of eight Afghan, Indian, and Pakistani men who were accused of smuggling 278 mostly Pakistani nationals into Austria between March and July 2013. The men were part of a group of asylum-seekers who sought refuge in Austria and protested against the Austrian Government's decision to refuse refugee status. They were then temporarily accommodated in the Servitenkloster, a monastery in Vienna's 9th district, when the accusations against them emerged, triggering great publicity of this case. The case went to court in March 2014, but was suspended after several hearing days. A decision in this case is expected for May 2014.

Austria's federal bureau of investigations, the Bundeskriminalamt, stated that the smuggled migrants had paid between EUR 6,500 and 10,000 to be brought from South and West Asia to Europe, generating a total sum of EUR 3 million from their smuggling activities, though the eight accused received only a small marhin of these profits.

Commentary and Significant Features

This case made significant headlines in Austria because the eight accused smugglers were pat of a group of asylum seekers whose applications for asylum in Austria were rejected and they then sought of refuge in the Votivkirche, a prominent church building in Vienna's inner city, which they occupied for several weeks. After lengthy negotiations, the asylum seekers, the eight men among them, were accommodated in several other facilities, including the Servitenkloster, a monastery in Vienna's 9th district. The eight men were staying here when the case came to light in July 2013.

Cross-Cutting Issues


... for

• completed offence

... as involves

• principal offender(s)



• involved an organized criminal group (Article 2(a) CTOC)
• occurred across one (or more) international borders (transnationally)

Investigation Procedure


The investigation involved telephone interceptions which also formed the main basis of the accusations against the eight accused in this case.


Procedural Information

Legal System:
Civil Law
Proceeding #1:
  • Stage:
    first trial
  • Decision Date:
    06 May 2014


    Court Title

    Landesgericht (Regional Court)



  • City/Town:
    Wiener Neustadt
  • Province:
  • • Criminal


    The trial against the eight accused was suspended in late March 2014, and the men were released from remand, because the Judge expressed doubts over the evidence against the eight men. A decision in this case was expected for 6 May 2014.



    278 persons

    Defendants / Respondents in the first instance

    Number of other accused:

    The case involves eight male accused who come from Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. The men denied accusations that they were involved in the smuggling migrants, saying they occasionally helped foreigners, some of whom came from the same towns as them, to find their way around Vienna.

    Charges / Claims / Decisions

    Fremdenpolizeigesetz (AUT)s 114 - Smuggling of Migrants [Schlepperei]

    Sources / Citations

    This entry was copied from The Migrant Smuggling Case Database, launched by the University of Queensland Migrant Smuggling Working Group in August 2013.