Monday, June 26, 2017

Overturning old convictions (for being gay) in Germany

Here's the story from the Guardian (in the "better late than never" category):
Germany to quash convictions of 50,000 gay men under Nazi-era law
Parliament votes through measure overturning conviction and offering compensation to the estimated 5,000 men still alive

"Germany’s parliament have voted to quash the convictions of 50,000 gay men sentenced for homosexuality under a Nazi-era law that remained in force after the second world war.
After decades of lobbying, victims and activists hailed a triumph in the struggle to clear the names of gay men who lived with a criminal record under article 175 of the penal code.
"An estimated 5,000 of those found guilty under the statute are still alive. The measure overwhelmingly passed the Bundestag lower house of parliament, where chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition enjoys a large majority.
"Germany’s article 175 outlawed “sexual acts contrary to nature... be it between people of the male gender or between people and animals”. Sex between women was not explicitly illegal.
"Although it dated from 1871, it was rarely enforced until the Nazis came to power, and in 1935 they toughened the law to carry a sentence of 10 years of forced labour.
"More than 42,000 men were convicted during the Third Reich and sent to prison or concentration camps.
"In 2002, the government introduced a new law that overturned their convictions, but that move didn’t include those prosecuted after the second world war.
"The article was finally dropped from the penal code in East Germany in 1968. In West Germany, it reverted to the pre-Nazi era version in 1969 and was only fully repealed in 1994.
See my earlier posts on Turing's Law, named for Britain's 2003 posthumous pardon of Alan Turing.

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