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Inmates start hunger strike for internet, pay TV and conjugal visits

The Local · 2 Aug 2011, 11:26

Published: 02 Aug 2011 11:26 GMT+02:00

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Georg Weßling, a spokesman for the Lower Saxony Justice Ministry, announced that the five prisoners at Celle prison took their last meals on Monday morning and had since refused food. Three of the five have also launched legal action against state Justice Minister Bernd Busemann.

They are all being held under Germany’s preventive detention laws, meaning they have served their original jail sentences but are considered too dangerous to release. Both Germany’s Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights have deemed the preventive detention system illegal and demanded an overhaul.

Among other things, the hunger-striking prisoners are demanding free access to the internet, pay TV and conjugal visits. They are basing their demands on the May decision by the Constitutional Court, which ruled that preventive detention needs to be fundamentally different from an ordinary prison sentence.

While a prison sentence was in part society’s punishment for a crime committed, preventive detention was purely to prevent future crimes being committed, the court said.

The court ruled that the changes must come into effect by May 31, 2013. Weßling said that meant authorities were currently in an interim period.

“We are speaking to the people involved and hope for their understanding,” he said.

Three of the prisoners are suing Justice Minister Busemann under articles one and two of the constitution, which guarantee respectively human dignity and the freedom for personal development.

The state prosecutor in the town of Lüneburg is examining the claims.

The Lower Saxony government is building a new wing at the Rosdorf prison near Göttingen to meet the demands of the Constitutional Court.

Story continues below…

“But some of the requirements can neither be met in Celle nor Rosdorf,” Weßling.

Twenty prisoners are currently being held on preventative detention at Celle prison.

DAPD/The Local/djw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:07 August 2, 2011 by dcgi
The Local - a proud partner of the Daily Mail
13:28 August 2, 2011 by Lachner
That's how a typical German prison cell looks like? Geez...it looks nicer and better equipped than my dorm room at College. What a joke!!!
14:33 August 2, 2011 by Shirazz
Internet, pay TV? Heck, add in an I-pad, I-pod, and I-phone for them as well. After all they deserve it.

Don't forget Christmas and birthday presents too, colorful socks and all, and wish them a Merry Jaily Christmas.

I notice there's a steel pan on top of the closet....ain't that a bit of a dangerous utensil in a cell?? I mean they might want to fry eggs or something....

Oh well...
14:42 August 2, 2011 by taiwanluthiers
I sure hope that's for the "preventive detention" and not for the actual sentence, because that cell is too nice for people who are serving a sentence... hell a low security Federal prison in the US isn't even that nice, and that's considered pretty nice.
14:59 August 2, 2011 by catjones
I knew a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy in the jail in Chicago who wanted extra milk for his morning cereal and it never made it to the news.
15:14 August 2, 2011 by Shirazz
Did he get his extra milk in the end catjones?
15:48 August 2, 2011 by Asgarli
Lachner +1

Btw, why doesn't the article say what kind of crimes did they do?
16:20 August 2, 2011 by nemo999
Prevention detention, might or might not be illegal, that is a matter for the courts to decide.

If the courts do decide that Prevention detention is legal, then the conditions of detention need to be addressed in that these individuals have completed the terms of their criminal sentence, and as such should not be held in a criminal facility.

They would need to be confined to a different facility to remove them from society. There may be some features of this new facility that would mimic features of a prison (Security, Confinement), but they maybe other features that are not found in prison (limited internet, more visits by relatives).
16:33 August 2, 2011 by zeddriver
I didn't know that Germany had a future crimes unit. Sounds like a variation on a Tom Cruise movie called "Minority Report"
16:39 August 2, 2011 by Asgarli
internationalwatch, you must be an idiot yourself not to research more about German justice system.

The maximum penalty that can be given here I believe is about 15 year, which is a joke for serious crimes. However preventive detention law enables those people with serious crimes to be kept more in prison, and that's why is it applied. The court considers the preventive detention as well, when deciding the sentence, so the preventive detention is also a part of a sentence.

That's why I was interested in what crimes did those guys do, that would give a more objective view to the issue.
16:50 August 2, 2011 by Shirazz
Different points, different views.

Prevention detention or not? I for one would hope with the max 21 years jail time in Norway, (though I'm sure it will be a different deal for this case) that they'd keep that cruel Knight Templar killer on prevention detention after he had served his maybe 21 years (and hopefully 21 multiplied by the number of victims he murdered)
17:41 August 2, 2011 by jmclewis
I wish to become a German Prisoner what would be the best crime to commit, least violence best accommodations?
17:47 August 2, 2011 by Shirazz
Almost anything.....since here alles ist verboden unless notified otherwise....

19:52 August 2, 2011 by Gretl
Since nobody likes the death penalty, how about we make miners out of them? They"ll be useful, they could live in a large "gated" community with like-minded individuals in apartments with no contact with the rest of society?
20:22 August 2, 2011 by ECSNatale
Regardless of why they are there or for how long, cable tv and internet access are not rights and they sure aren't free to anyone else, so why should they be free to these bozos?
23:11 August 2, 2011 by whpmgr
OK, go hungry, die, leave an empty bed. You did bad, had to go to Jail, no one made you go there, you made a life choice, so suck it up, make little rocks into smaller rocks, and learn not to go to jail....
10:00 August 4, 2011 by HistoryProffessor
whpmgr- Good comment, the cold hard truth. I like it.

I totally agree that this guys room is byfar much nicer than the room I stayed in during college. What makes a prisoner think that if they commit a serious crime that they should get the commodities of a normal life. To be honest with you I think that even having a bed is too much, give them a pile of hay to sleep on in a concrete block of a room. When you decide to defy society and the human race, then you have decided to waive your so called "human rights" and the "right to a normal life or even humane treatment" Infact you should from then on be classes as a sub human lol.

A lot less crimes would be committed. Especially the serious violent ones.
18:38 August 4, 2011 by toemag
I love a good hunger strike. I can still remember those IRA terrorists and their hunger strike, guess the taxpayer saves on their food bills as well.

Human rights, great idea, did they respect the rights of their victims, nope, didn't think so. As someone else pointed out "cable tv and internet access are not rights" or privileges, they cost money.
18:59 August 4, 2011 by michael4096
"You do the crime, you do the time" - as so many here say

These guys have done the time. If they are still considered a threat then keep them off the street, I agree. But, you can't continue punishing them because they have already done that bit.

The alternative would be to raise the punishment for everybody including those that are not a threat, which I know has much support here. But that has other downsides and it isn't the German way.
06:18 August 5, 2011 by heyheyhey
well, the US uses preventive detention in a number of states for their more heinous sex offenders. They call it civil commitment. It can be done because under this clause there is the opportunity to be involved in intensive treatment so that these criminals are subsequently more likely to live in society without crimes, if and when they are released.

One thing that I notice is that we have rarely any "serial rapists" on the loose anymore in my state. These pigs are all locked up, because they would rape again. These types of criminals deserve NOTHING. They are human waste.

I vote for exterminating them just as you would exterminate other types of vermin.
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