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CRIME

Court rules no automatic dismissal for civil servants with child porn

A German court has ruled that the private possession of child pornography is not automatically grounds for dismissal of teachers and other public officials.

Court rules no automatic dismissal for civil servants with child porn
Photo: DPA

A federal court in Leipzig this week deemed owning such items was “off-duty offence” that did not justify the immediate firing of civil servants known in Germany as Beamten. The presiding judges said each case needed to be weighed individually to see if other disciplinary measures would be adequate.

The ruling means a teacher from Hamburg and a customs inspector from Saarland can both hope to continue their careers while retaining their civil servant benefits. Child pornography was found on the computers of both men, who were fined €3,000 and €7,500 respectively, but they sued against their ensuing dismissals.

The court said the punishment of both men was relatively mild considering the possession of child pornography can lead to a two-year jail sentence, but that each case needed to be judged on its specific merits. For example, whether the offence disqualified the teacher from working with children.

“That is a difficult point for some professions,” said the presiding Judge Georg Herbert.

The final disciplinary measures for the teacher and customs inspector will now be decided by lower regional courts.

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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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