• Germany's news in English

Pay-out for rapists kept in prison too long

The Local · 24 Apr 2012, 10:58

Published: 24 Apr 2012 10:58 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The four men have been in a Freiburg prison since the 1970s and 1980s, when they were sentenced to between five and 15 years. After their sentences ran out, they were kept in prison under preventative detention, which was originally limited to a maximum of ten years.

But in 1998, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's government removed the cap on preventative custody for serious violent crimes, which meant that criminals could be held indefinitely if they were still considered a threat to society.

This meant that the four in question, deemed still dangerous, were kept in prison for between another eight to 12 years.

Dieter L. (61), Peter W. (55), Günter G. (64) und Hans-Peter W. (55) were kept in prison for between 18 and 22 years longer than their original sentences.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in December 2009 that lifting the limit on preventative detention for already convicted criminals violated several articles of the European Convention of Human Rights.

The German constitutional court adopted the ECHR's ruling last May, clearing the path for the four rapists to sue the state of Baden-Württemberg.

They had claimed damages of €25 for each day of their wrongful detention, amounting to more than €400,000, but the regional court in Karlsruhe awarded them €500 per month – or up to €73,000 each – in line with similar ECHR cases in the past.

It is the first time that convicted criminals have been awarded damages for being kept in preventative custody for too long.

Story continues below…

Legal expert Thomas Ullenbruch told the Süddeutsche Zeitung he thought the ruling was "risky," and that there were at least a hundred similar cases in Germany which could be affected by this precedent.

The Local/DPA/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

15:16 April 24, 2012 by Wrench
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:35 April 24, 2012 by marimay
And how much did the government give the victims that were wrongfully raped? Nothing I'm sure...

I'd like to know what was said in the comments that were removed.

These people don't deserve a dime. Sometimes Europe horrifies me. Using human rights as an excuse? HAH!
17:55 April 24, 2012 by Englishted
I somehow don't think I'm the only one who thinks that the European court of Human Rights is far far to often wrong ,this is just another example of E.U. institution that should be overhauled ,because the sovereignty of member nations is totally over taken ,and we can't vote the perpetrators out of office.
21:20 April 24, 2012 by Bigfoot76
In the US things are very much similar. Once convicted any changes to laws can only be applied if they would benefit the criminal. Anything that would not benefit the criminal can not be applied. Changes would only be applied to future convictions.

I think I read somewhere that rape laws in some middle east countries are far worse than either EU or US.
22:35 April 24, 2012 by wood artist
The concept is called "Ex post facto" which basically means that you can't be charged, convicted, or sentenced by a law that didn't exist at the time. While these men may or may not still be dangerous, I think they have the same rights that we each would want. After all, if the police came to your door, arrested you, and then explained that something you did 20 years ago, which wasn't illegal "back then" has now been made illegal and they're charging you...I suspect you'd be a bit upset. This is, in fact, no different.

10:49 April 25, 2012 by asteriks
They should get 100 euro per day, judge saved money to the state instead to pay money to victims of the state. In their case, the state is criminal. I believe that prisons make people worst and keeping people longer is making them hungry for revenge, now they are really dangerous when they are out, even if they were not rapists. By the way, there are much worst crimes than rape but they sit less in the prison. Problem is that directors of prisons are often former police inspectors and they hate rapists while they respect killers, killers have better treatment in prisons than rapists because of mentality of directors.
17:50 April 26, 2012 by Englishted

This is on of the strangest comments I have ever come across on the Local ,I can make head or tail of what your point is.
Today's headlines
These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd