European court upholds German incest verdict | News | DW | 12.04.2012
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European court upholds German incest verdict

Punishment for incest is not a violation of human rights, according to the European Court of Human Rights. The Strasbourg court rejected the German case of a man who was convicted due to sexual relations with his sister.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has ruled that punishment for incest does not violate human rights. A man in Leipzig, who was convicted in Germany for having sexual relations with his sister, had brought his case to the Strasbourg court.

The seven judges on the panel unanimously decided that the German ban on incest does not contravene the European Convention on Human Rights. They also said the ban and subsequent punishment did not violate his privacy rights.

Thirty-six year-old Patrick S., who was convicted in Germany for having sexual relations with his sister and who spent three years in jail, only met his sister at age 24. The couple have four kids, two of whom are disabled.

The German Constitutional Court - the country's highest court - had rejected his case in 2008. He was first convicted in 2002, after his grandfather had alerted the authorities.

The ECHR noted that German courts did not convict his sister because she has a personality disorder and was "only partially liable" for her actions.

Germany bans consensual sexual intercourse between adult siblings.

ng/ncy (dpa, AFP, AP)

Editor's note: Deutsche Welle is bound by German law and the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.