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CRIME

‘Violation of private space’: Germany approves bill to ban upskirting

The German government on Wednesday approved a draft law to criminalize the production and distribution of "upskirting" images, following similar legislation adopted in Britain and France earlier this year.

'Violation of private space': Germany approves bill to ban upskirting
Two women in Edinburgh, Scotland. Upskirting has also been banned in the UK. Photo: DPA

Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said secretly taking pictures up women's skirts was “a humiliating, unjustifiable violation of their private space”.

The cabinet also agreed to outlaw taking pictures of dead people that can be considered degrading, such as victims of traffic accidents, and spreading them online, government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.

The legislation will now go before parliament.

Under current German law, upskirting can only be classified as a crime if there is physical contact or accompanying verbal insults.

But the new law could impose prison sentences of up to two years for taking the stealth photographs – for example, under escalators or stairwells. 

Britain outlawed the practice in January.

In August, French lawmakers also passed a new law against sexist violence,
including upskirting.

The French law also imposes on-the-spot fines for catcalling, comments on a
woman's looks or clothing, intrusive questions and unwanted following.

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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