Russian homeless man sets Hungarian homeless man on fire in Austria

“Such a brutal act of violence fills me with shock, sadness and anger”

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: John Cody

The Hungarian man who was set on fire in Austria on Saturday is in a critical but stable condition under intensive care. According to Austrian police, a 65-year-old Russian man doused him in flammable liquid and set him on fire.

The 52-year-old victim was lying in the open street in front of a shop in Graz when the Russian man allegedly approached him and set him ablaze, Austrian press outlet Die Presse reported. A witness identified the Russian man as setting the Hungarian man on fire, which led to the Russian man’s successful apprehension.

People in the area attempted to help the burn victim until ambulance and fire services arrived. Firefighters applied first aid and extinguished the blaze near the convenience store.

Police say the Russian confessed to an arson attack, but claims he did not know there was a man there. He refused to give details about why he was setting a fire or what he thought he was burning, but claimed it was an accident.

According to the hospital treating the Hungarian man, 20-25 percent of the victim’s body was burned, including third-degree burns. The injuries were life-threatening, but the man’s condition has since stabilized. He will undergo further serious surgery in the coming days.

The Russian man is reportedly in the country illegally and lives among the country’s homeless community. He is currently in the Graz-Jakomini prison.

Austria’s Caritas and the aid organization VinziWerke condemned the attack and called for homeless people to accept accommodation offers, with a worker claiming that the victim had been offered shelter days before the attack but refused.

Caritas Styria director Nora Tödtling-Musenbichler said: “We are shocked and deeply affected by this new dimension of violence against the homeless, which we strongly condemn.”

Amrita Böker from VinziWerken also stated: “That a person who lives in great poverty is also the victim of such a brutal act of violence fills me with shock, sadness and anger.”

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