Edin Mehic’s public indecency conviction for belching in Vienna’s Prater Park was overturned on April 18, 2017.
Mehic, 27, was living in Vienna, Austria and working as a bartender, when he took a walk in Prater Park on Sunday, February 7, 2016. He bought a Turkish Kebabkette (kebab) from a vendor and had it prepared the way he likes it: spicy with a lot of onion.
After Mehic ate his kebab he belched while standing near a policeman.
The policeman confronted Mehic about breaching the peace with his belch. Mehic told the policeman he had just eaten a kebab, and asked why he wasn’t “picking up real criminals” in the park who were obviously consuming and selling illegal drugs. The officer disregarded Mehic’s comments and cited him for public indecency.
Mehic was found guilty and sentenced to pay a fine of €70 (Euros) (US$75).
Mehic posted information about his case on his Facebook page. He wrote about his burb, “Quite honestly, this was a normal burglar, not the mating cry of an elk.”
Mehic’s case received much publicity in Europe.
The international kebab chain Kasap Doner based in Turkey paid Mehic’s fine, and invited him to visit Istanbul with all-expenses paid.
To protest Mehic’s case, in April 2016 a ‘flash mob’ of several hundred people congregated in Prater Park, and they burbed in unison while standing next to police officers.
Mehic appealed his conviction, arguing that he involuntarily burped after he quickly ate his kebab that was spicy with a lot onion.
On April 18, 2017 Mehic’s conviction was overturned by a court in Vienna on the basis his unintentional belch didn’t constitute a breach of the peace under the public decency law.
Mehic’s lawyer, Heinz Robathin, told a reporter for the Daily Mail (London) that “It’s all a question of perspective. If my client had done it in the opera or theatre, I could probably understand somebody complaining. But not in the Praterstern, where there are drug dealers and other people of a dubious character on a daily basis. People burping a hardly rare there. This is such an abuse of police authority that it borders on misconduct.”