Crime & Justice

Judges’ association denounces harassment of magistrate who sentenced gang rape in Germany

Berlin, Nov 29 (EFE). – The Association of Judges of Hamburg (northern Germany) on Wednesday strongly condemned the “unbearable harassment” of the judge who a day earlier sentenced the defendants in a case of gang rape of a minor.

“The Hamburg Judges’ Association, as the union of Hamburg judges and prosecutors, is appalled by the intolerable harassment of a colleague who, in this difficult case, fulfilled the task assigned to her by the Basic Law,” the statement said.

On Tuesday, the court sentenced several defendants, aged between 19 and 23, who had raped a 15-year-old girl in September 2020.

The men took advantage of the fact that the teenager showed significant symptoms of alcohol intoxication during a local festival.

The verdict, which came after a year-and-a-half trial, sparked controversy, with the judge receiving threatening online messages after the verdict was made public.

The Judges’ Association expressed that the messages were “unacceptable personal attacks” with “more or less veiled calls for violence.”

The statement added that they were “marked by an anti-immigrant undertone” and “wished that she herself would become a victim of rape.”

This type of action on social media is “a direct attack on the rule of law” and “democratic structures,” the magistrates said.

The statement also recalled that the competent chamber of the provincial court “gathered a large amount of evidence in a complex procedure and, as a result, reached a well-founded verdict.”

However, it stressed that the “hate speech” received is limited to “one-sided controversies and personal attacks against the judge, without any knowledge of the background of the case,” juvenile law or probation sentences.

The verdicts, “which represent one of the harshest sanctions under juvenile law,” are described as “acquittals,” the association denounces.

The controversial verdict

The initial charges against 11 suspects – who were between 17 and 23 years old at the time of the attack – were formalized 15 months after the rape, which, coupled with the fact that they had not been arrested, had already caused outrage.

On Tuesday, a man, now 19, was sentenced to two years and nine months in juvenile prison without parole.

Eight others were given juvenile sentences of one to two years with probation or pre-parole, which means that the court reserves the right to decide on the execution of the sentence at a later date, depending on the progress of the defendants.

A tenth defendant was acquitted, and an eleventh had already been so in April.

According to the court, most of its conclusions were based solely on evidence gathered during the testimony of more than 90 witnesses, none of them direct, and several experts.

Witnesses reported two videos that could be linked to the first and last incidents. However, both were deleted shortly after the crime and were not available to investigators or the court.

Also, according to local media, at the beginning of the trial investigators were able to compare nine semen samples found on the victim with the DNA of the accused.

Background of the case

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