Josef Fritzl can be released to regular prison – in move that paves way for nursing home transfer


Josef Fritzl – who kept his daughter captive for 24 years, raped her thousands of times, and fathered seven children with her – can be moved to a regular prison, a court has ruled.

The 88-year-old Austrian – who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009 for incest, rape, coercion, false imprisonment, enslavement, and the negligent homicide of one of his infant sons – had been in psychiatric detention.

However, a three-judge regional court in the town of Krems, in northern Austria, ruled on Thursday that Fritzl, who now has dementia, could be moved to a regular prison as he no longer poses a danger.

The ruling, which paves the way for him to be released from prison into a nursing home, overturned an earlier decision from 2022 when Fritzl’s request to be moved to a regular prison was rejected.

Defendant Josef Fritzl arrives for the last day of his trial at the court of law in Sankt Poelten in Austria's province of Lower Austria March 19, 2009. Reuters
Josef Fritzl, pictured in 2009. Pic: Reuters

According to the Austria Press Agency (APA), Fritzl will have to attend regular psychotherapy and undergo psychiatric evaluations during a 10-year probation period at the prison.

Fritzl’s lawyer, Astrid Wagner, told The Associated Press: “In summary, the court has come to the conclusion that it is indeed the case that he is no longer dangerous.”

The verdict is not yet legally binding and prosecutors have 14 days to submit an appeal, APA reported.

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