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EU court slams German penal system

AFP · 12 May 2010, 07:58

Published: 12 May 2010 07:58 GMT+02:00

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In December, the ECHR had ordered Germany to pay €50,000 in damages to a prisoner held in preventive detention for nearly 20 years, but the ECHR rejected Germany's referral request lodged in March.

"The Court's Chamber judgment of 17 December 2009 has thereby become final," an ECHR statement said on Tuesday.

The original case concerned a 52-year-old prisoner, known as M, with at least seven convictions for offences including attempted murder, robbery, aggravated robbery, serious assaults and blackmail.

He has also wounded several fellow detainees, in particular a disabled man, and tried to rob and murder a woman accompanying him on a day trip out of his psychiatric hospital.

Experts had judged that he had psychological problems but was still morally responsible for his actions.

Under German law at the time of his conviction, preventive detention was limited to 10 years, which would have meant he was released in 2001.

But an amendment passed in 1998 allowed the detention to be extended indefinitely if it was judged necessary for public safety, and this was applied retroactively to M.

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The Strasbourg court ruled that the retroactive detention of the prisoner was not justified, because "there was no sufficient causal connection between his conviction and his continued deprivation of liberty."

"The applicant's continued detention had not been justified by the risk that he could commit further serious offences if released," the court said, judging that "these potential offences were not sufficiently concrete and specific."

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Your comments about this article

20:02 May 12, 2010 by JohnnesKönig
Let Strasbourg take this turd then...
10:14 May 13, 2010 by scout1067
Keeping criminals in jail does kind of suck for the criminal huh?
11:31 May 13, 2010 by cobalisk
Cannot agree with the court here.

Behavior while in prison is a strong indicator of behavior upon release. Assaulting a disabled person while in hospital is a huge flashing red light as is the assault while being transported.

Not very many people in this world are truly beyond help, however, there are some and from the laundry list provided, this person may be one of the perpetually violent.
15:26 May 14, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
"tried to rob and murder...on a day trip"

They would prefer we let this lunatic out...?
01:22 May 16, 2010 by janreg58
If they are repeat offenders, then we have no use for them in our society. If you were born a bad seed, you will always be in trouble. There is no reconditioning these people. Why should we pay for them for the rest of their lives. Take a life, take their life. Sorry, but that's how I feel.
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