Lawyer for Austrian Sex Offender Josef Fritzl Seeks Release to Nursing Home for 88-Year-Old Father of 7

AMSTETTEN, Austria – The lawyer for Josef Fritzl, the Austrian sex offender who imprisoned his own daughter for 24 years and fathered seven children, is seeking his release from prison. Astrid Wagner, his lawyer, wants to move Fritzl, who is now 88 and has dementia, to a nursing home. Fritzl was sentenced to life in 2009 for the death of one of his children, as well as rape, incest, and enslaving his daughter.

A recent psychiatric report on Fritzl suggests that he no longer poses a threat to the public. The report’s findings may influence a court’s decision on whether to transfer him to a regular prison. However, his lawyer argues that he should be released altogether and is in the process of applying for his conditional discharge. Wagner asserts that her client deserves to be treated with “human dignity,” which she believes can only be achieved in a nursing home rather than a prison.

Wagner highlights Fritzl’s physical and cognitive deterioration, acknowledging his “distortions of reality” but clarifying that he is not severely demented. She believes Fritzl genuinely feels remorse for his actions and has “destroyed the beautiful life he had by doing something to his family.” Currently, Fritzl is held in a high-security unit for mentally disturbed offenders at Stein Prison in Krems, Austria.

Under Austrian law, individuals sentenced to life are eligible for conditional release after 15 years. Fritzl reached this mark in 2023, having been arrested in 2008. The shocking details of Fritzl’s crimes emerged when his daughter, Elisabeth, revealed that she had been held captive since 1984 when she was 18 years old. Fritzl had lured her into the family home’s cellar and deceived everyone, including his wife, by claiming that she had joined a cult or run away.

The truth only came to light when one of Fritzl’s children fell critically ill and Elisabeth was taken to the hospital. The police issued an appeal for her to come forward, leading to her release from the cellar. She informed the authorities that she had been held captive for over two decades. In a 2023 interview, Fritzl expressed hope that his family would forgive him for his crimes and that he would be reunited with them.

The case of Josef Fritzl continues to captivate public attention due to its shocking nature and the extreme level of abuse endured by his daughter. The plea for his release from prison raises important discussions about rehabilitation, punishment, and the appropriate treatment of elderly offenders with deteriorating mental health. The decision of whether to move Fritzl to a regular prison or release him will ultimately rest with the court, after considering all factors surrounding the case.