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Aachen jailbreak convicts imprisoned for life

The Local · 9 Feb 2011, 11:08

Published: 09 Feb 2011 11:08 GMT+01:00

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Michael Heckhoff, 52, was sentenced to ten years in prison by a court on Wednesday, while co-conspirator Peter Paul Michalski, 47, was given a jail term of ten years and six months.

The two had been charged with kidnapping, blackmail and hostage-taking.

The court also ruled that they be kept in preventive detention after having served their sentences, which means the two will probably die in custody.

The former prison guard who helped the two escape in Nov. 2009 from the maximum-security facility near the western German city of Aachen was given a sentence of four years and three months.

Prosecutors had asked that Heckhoff be given a 12-year sentence and Michalski 13 years. They had also demanded the former prison guard receive a sentence of seven years.

Germany held its collective breath for five days during which convicted murderer Michalski and Heckhoff, who was serving time for hostage-taking, led police on nationwide manhunt, during which they took hostages and broke into a villa. No one was injured during the chase.

The men confessed their crimes in front of the Aachen court although in a final statement said that poor conditions in the Aachen facility had driven them to escape. The two said the prison was merely a place where inmates were “stored” and the outlook for the future there was bleak.

Story continues below…

DPA/The Local/kdj

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:18 February 9, 2011 by twisted
I find the German justice system a bit strange....life in prison means just a few years. Bizarre. Life should mean until the SOBs die. Kill a kid and go to jail for a few years and come out swinging. If one has a career ambition to be a criminal, this is the country to do it in.
15:31 February 9, 2011 by The-ex-pat
"The court also ruled that they be kept in preventive detention after having served their sentences, which means the two will probably die in custody."

A funny statement. What is the difference between that and Gitmo. German firmly believes it should be closed, but I see little difference in detaining them after the sentence has expired and the stance Germany takes on suspects being detained without trial. A little hypocritical. Still once the European Court of Human Rights gets in on the act they will be out to offend again. Hopefully no one will be hurt before they are rounded up and locked away again.
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