Farmers in court for keeping slave

A Styrian farmer and his son accused of keeping a man as his work slave for years were in court in Leoben yesterday (Mon).Prosecutors charged Peter P., 63, and his 29-year-old son Christian P. with neglect, fraud and forging of documents after officials found that Max L., 56, had to work under gruesome conditions at the farm for 30 years.The men are suspected of having forged documents to cash in an overall 200,000 Euros of social insurance payments meant for their employee.Prosecutors told judges Max L. was permanently beaten and verbally abused. They also revealed he had to work 13 hours every day of the week without being properly paid.”When I wanted to take some time off, I simply left the farm for a few days without letting the farmer know. He shouted at me all the time no matter what it was about,” Max L. said.He added: “I was always told there¬ís no more food when I was hungry.”Christian P. was given a six-month suspended jail term for serious fraud, while the case of his father was postponed as judges ordered another medical opinion on the condition of Max L.This case comes after a 55-year-old woman was freed from social workers last year after being kept on a remote farm in Deutschlandsberg, Styria, for more than 40 years.Martina M. was handed over by her parents at the age of 15 and had to work for four decades on the estate. The woman is currently in care where psychiatrists and social workers try to help her learning how to live in a world she has not seen for four decades.”When she saw a car for the first time, she just walked straight out in front of it. She doesn’t understand,” said one of the team about the woman who has suffered from learning difficulties.