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CRIME

Gynecologist faces court over intimate photos

A doctor in western Germany is accused of using cameras hidden in a chair and in pens to take invasive photos of female patients, as well as carrying out examinations "solely for sexual arousal".

Gynecologist faces court over intimate photos
A gynaecologist's office. File photo: DPA

The gynaecologist appeared in court on Wednesday, accused with filming medical examinations of numerous women, as well as sexual assault of his patients.  

The 55-year-old from Dortmund, named only as Ralph S, allegedly claimed he was carrying out routine medical examinations in 58 cases between 2010 and 2011, which have been evaluated by the prosecutors as “pointless” and “served only for sexual arousal”, according to DPA.

Using a camera hidden in the chair in his surgery, the doctor filmed vaginal examinations. He also used mini-cameras hidden in pens to photograph his patients' genitals. 

He is also accused of smearing ultrasound gel on patients where there was no medical need.

Prosecutor Bettina Werner stated: “In fact, he committed sexual assault.”

Several women plaintiffs were present in court.

According to DPA, one of his former patients said she found his examinations “peculiar” because “they always lasted several minutes”.

64-year-old victim named as Brigitte G told Bild: “First, he sent out the assistant and moved the chair so high that I could not get up. Then, he waved an object around between my legs. I was scared and didn’t dare say anything.”

The abuse was uncovered when an employee found the camera in the chair and reported it to her boss. In summer 2012, police raided the gynaecologist’s practice in central Dortmund.

His computers and hard drives were confiscated, the pens with hidden cameras were found and evaluation of the video material lasted several months before charges were pressed last year.
 
The doctor’s lawyer, Oliver Allesch, said “my client denies committing sexual acts. As medical examinations are carried out in a professional way, there are different views about how to conduct them.”

The gynaecologist’s trial began on Wednesday, with the doctor facing up to five years in prison if found guilty of sexual assault, and a maximum of two years for “invasion of the intimate sphere through image recording”.

This is far from being the first case of its kind in Germany; in January this year, a former high-ranking doctor was accused of sexually assaulting 13 women participating in his medical study while they were unconscious. And in 2013, a gynaecologist was jailed after taking pictures of his patients during medical examinations.
 

CRIME

Former Nazi camp guard, 101, gets five-year jail sentence

A German court on Tuesday handed a five-year jail sentence to a 101-year-old former Nazi concentration camp guard, the oldest person so far to go on trial for complicity in war crimes during the Holocaust.

Former Nazi camp guard, 101, gets five-year jail sentence

Josef S. was found guilty of being an accessory to murder while working as a prison guard at the Sachsenhausen camp in Oranienburg, north of Berlin, between 1942 and 1945, presiding judge Udo Lechtermann said.

The pensioner, who now lives in Brandenburg state, had pleaded innocent, saying he did “absolutely nothing” and was not aware of the gruesome crimes being carried out at the camp.

“I don’t know why I am here,” he said at the close of his trial on Monday.

But prosecutors said he “knowingly and willingly” participated in the murders of 3,518 prisoners at the camp and called for him to be punished with five years behind bars.

READ ALSO: Trials of aging Nazis a ‘reminder for the present’, says German prosecutor

More than 200,000 people, including Jews, Roma, regime opponents and gay people, were detained at the Sachsenhausen camp between 1936 and 1945.

Tens of thousands of inmates died from forced labour, murder, medical experiments, hunger or disease before the camp was liberated by Soviet troops, according to the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum.

Prosecutors said the man had aided and abetted the “execution by firing squad of Soviet prisoners of war in 1942” and the murder of prisoners “using the poisonous gas Zyklon B”.

He was 21 years old at the time.

Contradictory statements

During the trial, S. made several inconsistent statements about his past, complaining that his head was getting “mixed up”.

At one point, the centenarian said he had worked as an agricultural labourer in Germany for most of World War II, a claim contradicted by several historical documents bearing his name, date and place of birth.

After the war, the man was transferred to a prison camp in Russia before returning to Germany, where he worked as a farmer and a locksmith.

He remained at liberty during the trial, which began in 2021 but has been delayed several times because of his health.

Despite his conviction, he is highly unlikely to be put behind bars, given his age.

His lawyer Stefan Waterkamp told AFP ahead of the verdict that if found guilty, he would appeal.

More than seven decades after World War II, German prosecutors are racing to bring the last surviving Nazi perpetrators to justice.

The 2011 conviction of former guard John Demjanjuk, on the basis that he served as part of Hitler’s killing machine, set a legal precedent and paved the way for several of these twilight justice cases.

Since then, courts have handed down several guilty verdicts on those grounds rather than for murders or atrocities directly linked to the individual accused.

By David COURBET

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