Dear HLI Family,
When you sacrifice your life for the glory of God to defend life and the family as HLI's pro-life missionaries do, you're bound to ruffle some feathers, and suffer jeers and persecution from your peers. But the outright discrimination and injustice done to HLI Austria Director Dietmar Fischer by rogue judges in Austria is a threat to pro-lifers not only in Europe, but around the world. Your urgent help is needed in this battle.
Dietmar Fischer is one of our own, an active pro-life missionary and important member of our HLI Family. And right now, he desperately needs your help to pay an outrageous $8,500 fine, plus thousands more in court and legal fees.
As previously reported on HLI's news blog, HLI World Watch, Dietmar has been convicted of "stalking" an abortionist in Graz, Austria - despite the fact that he was never in the city of Graz, and the abortionist himself has stated that he was not stalked.
This case can only be described as blatant political persecution of a pro-life leader for his defense of life. This judge's ruling effectively criminalizes pro-life sidewalk counseling in Austria. Could all of Europe be next? And then the United States?
YOUR URGENT DONATION OF $25, $50 OR $100 IS NEEDED BY DECEMBER 26TH TO KEEP DIETMAR OUT OF JAIL!
The details of the case are these: A Graz-based abortionist brought lesser charges against three pro-life sidewalk counselors in 2009. These peaceful prayer warriors were simply handing out materials to women considering abortion - materials provided by Dietmar and HLI Austria. But Judge Erik Nauta in Graz unilaterally elevated the charges to "stalking," and extended the charge to include Dietmar, who - again - was not even in Graz at the time of the supposed "offense."
During the appeal presided over by Judge Nauta, all of the witnesses for the prosecution, including the abortionist himself, admitted that Dietmar did not stalk anyone. Despite this testimony, the judge ruled against Dietmar.
The final ruling of the Austrian judicial system came down against Dietmar in October when a second appeals judge completely ignored the facts and testimonies of the case. Judge Caroline List condemned Dietmar despite the testimonies from ten witnesses of the prosecution, again including the abortionist, that no one had actually been accosted by him or any of his colleagues. She imposed an $8,500 fine on Dietmar, and if he can't pay within a few short weeks, he faces 80 days in prison. We need your support by December 26th to get the funds to Dietmar in time.
Dietmar has no choice at this point but to pay the fine or go to prison. He may yet receive justice if the case is overruled by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France, but it could be months or even years before the ECHR actually hears the case. Since HLI needs to raise funds to pay the fine by December 26th, he can't afford to wait.
"Dietmar is accused of offering, for free, eleven week old fetal models, flyers with a message of support for pregnant mothers, and rosaries," said Joannes Bucher, HLI's Regional Coordinator for Europe, who is based in Austria. "These pro-life resources were supplied by HLI Austria, but Dietmar himself was never in Graz to counsel women in front of this abortion centre."
PLEASE HELP KEEP DIETMAR OUT OF JAIL WITH YOUR URGENT DONATION OF $25, $50 OR $100 BY DECEMBER 26TH!
Dietmar, like the rest of the HLI family, is disturbed by the judge's decision, as he is clearly being used as a political pawn by those who think abortion is a "human right."
"This verdict is a scandal and is purely political. It was mandated by the minister of Justice. Judge Caroline List admitted that her verdict was about a larger legal question. It is about whether pro-lifers will be able to stand in front of clinics and to offer help or not," he said. "This decision is not based on the rule of law, and goes against freedom of speech, religion and demonstration."
"Look at the testimonies," said Dietmar. "The abortionist, Dr. Hanfstingl, told the court that we did not 'stalk' him, and that we only wanted to inform the women going to the clinic about pro-life resources."
But even while facing such persecution and injustice, HLI's Dietmar Fischer has continued to organize and sponsor pro-life sidewalk counseling in the city of Vienna where he resides, and will continue to fight against this unjust ruling.
My brothers and sisters, we cannot allow such threats to our religious freedom to go unchecked, but right now I'm asking for your financial support to keep Dietmar out of prison. We have a limited amount of time to raise the necessary funds, so please urge your friends, family and community to donate now to help HLI fight this discrimination against our pro-life family. We must receive your contributions by December 26th in order to get them to him in time. I also ask for your continued prayers for Dietmar and HLI Austria, and for HLI's mission around the world.
May God bless you.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Shenan J. Boquet
Human Life International
PS. PLEASE SEND YOUR GIFT BY DECEMBER 26TH TO HELP KEEP DIETMAR OUT OF JAIL. (Any donations over the amount needed will be sent wherever the need is greatest).