Operation Spring (2005)
Ute Bock: I never thought a thing like this could happen here. I never would have believed it.
Gustav Rothmayer: Of course you couldn't see the people clearly. It was dark, they were all black, and it's hard to recognize a black African at night.
Lennart Binder: [Defense counsel in Operation Spring trials] It's true, we were not provided with the original video and audio tapes for verification, as might be expected.
Lennart Binder: After 5 or 6 years of trials we still haven't got a copy. The judge doesn't give us a copy, and he is not even ready to turn this TV set around so everybody can see it!
[ORF2, 2. 5. 1999]
Anchor: Welcome to the evening news.
Anchor: During his expulsion last night, a 25-year old deportee died in police custody.
Anchor: The man was from Nigeria and Austrian authorities were escorting him by plane to Sofia. For loudly protesting deportation the police taped his mouth shut. This may have led to his suffocation.
Narratress: During the Operation Spring trials, the prosecution resorts to a method never used before in Austria. For the first time, anonymous witnesses are used, entirely hidden behind helmets, stocking masks, coveralls, and gloves.
Nina Horaczek: The defense attorney wanted to test the translator's German, so he asked him if he was a *sworn* translator, and the translator didn't understand that. There were quite a few articles in the daily press because it was so absurd that a court translator, who is required to be a sworn translator, didn't even know what "sworn" meant. So it came out that he wasn't a sworn translator - or he probably would have known the word - but he was only sworn in after the fact and had been translating without having taken the oath.
Gustav Rothmayer: But in these cases the amounts were still so great that we were able to impose near-maximum sentences.
Title Card: Over a hundred Afcricans were convicted in conjunction with Operation Spring. - They received sentences totalling several hundred years of imprisonment.
Narrator: This drug ring differed from other groups not only for being so well organized, but also above all because the alleged leaders of the organization came out in public and even took part in protests, ironically even in a protest against police brutality.
Lennart Binder: As defense counsels, we were given the files with the charges and, well, useless evidence. I can only speak for myself, but according to my records - I handled two cases personally - my first thought was that based on the data provided to us convictions would be *impossible*.
Lennart Binder: I think it's common knowledge that of the more than 120 trials all, without exception, ended in conviction.