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CRIME

Legal punishment unlikely for Ameland teen sex abuse suspects

Eight teenage boys who have admitted to sexually abusing other younger boys at a summer camp on the island of Ameland last month are unlikely to be arraigned, the Osnabrück state prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.

Legal punishment unlikely for Ameland teen sex abuse suspects
Photo: DPA

German youth criminal law could mean that the case ends in the boys taking anti-aggression training courses instead, head prosecutor Alexander Retemeyer told daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

The incidents in early July at the Dutch holiday island have emerged through questioning the teenage suspects, who revealed they found their inspiration online to brutally mishandle younger children.

The suspects, youths between the ages of 14 and 15, have shown remorse for their actions during talks with police, a spokesperson said last month.

The attackers allegedly used objects including cola bottles and broomstick handles to sexually assault six boys, all aged about 13. The incidents occurred at the youth dormitory of a holiday camp sponsored by the city of Osnabrück’s municipal sports association.

According to state prosecutors, terrible scenes of violence occurred there when the older boys pulled the youngest and weakest members of the 39-member group from their bunks and assaulted them in the centre of the room.

Investigators hope to question the last of the group’s members in the next two weeks, the paper said. So far authorities have eight confessions and have statements from eight victims.

Osnabrück prosecutors are now working on “gaining a big picture out of which we can see who, did what, when and where,” Retemeyer said.

As soon as investigations are complete, the youth welfare office will step in to make its recommendations for “disciplinary measures,” he said.

The incidents have led to a debate about the need to improve supervision at summer camps. The Lower Saxony state sporting federation has already announced it will examine further measures for training of supervisors.

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GERMANY AND ISRAEL

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.

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