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Austrian paper sued over wrong photo of Germanwings co-pilot


Vienna: Court proceedings opened today against an Austrian newspaper for publishing a photo of a German man wrongly identified as the co-pilot who deliberately crashed a Germanwings plane in the French Alps in March.

The man is suing the Oesterreich newspaper at a court in Vienna for defamation and infringement of personal rights. His lawyer, Maria Windhager, said the image had “serious repercussions” for her client who had been depicted as a “mass murderer”.

The Airbus 320 was en route from Barcelona to Duesseldorf on March 24 when Andreas Lubitz flew the jet into a mountain, killing all 150 people on board.

Shortly after the incident, Oesterreich printed a cover image which it said showed the 27-year-old co-pilot.

But in reality, the shot was of another German who merely shared the same first name as Lubitz.

The image had first emerged on Twitter before being picked up by photo agencies and distributed to news outlets across the globe.

In Austria, the picture also appeared in the Krone tabloid but unlike Oesterreich, the paper had used a blurred version and published a correction once the error became apparent.

Windhager said there had been an out-of-court settlement with Krone.

The court proceedings against Oesterreich are set to continue mid-September, but a lawyer for the paper has hinted that it might be willing to also settle the matter out of court.

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