Germany to compensate convicted homosexuals

  • 12/05/2016

Tens of thousands of German men convicted in the past by a homosexuality law may soon be compensated financially.

Germany plans to annul the convictions of the men charged under the 19th century law.

The law was toughened up by Hitler's Nazis and retained for decades in postwar West Germany, which used it to convict and jail some 50,000 men until 1969, when it finally decriminalised homosexuality.

The law itself was not abolished until 1994, and the sentences were never cleared.

The justice minister now says the convictions will be overturned and the men who'd been jailed would be eligible for compensation.

"We will never be able to remove these outrages committed by this country but we want to rehabilitate the victims," Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The convicted homosexual men should no longer have to live with the black mark of a criminal conviction," said Maas, a member of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), junior partner in conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition.

The move follows recommendations from Germany's Anti-Discrimination Agency which had commissioned a report.

A ministry spokeswoman said it was unclear when a draft law would be completed.

It was also unclear how much financial compensation those men affected might receive or how much support Maas's plan might receive from Merkel's conservatives.

The Lesbian and Gay Association urged the government to act quickly to bring in legislation.

"Time is pressing for victims of homosexual persecution to get their unfair convictions lifted and see their dignity restored," Der Spiegel Online quoted the association as saying.

Newshub. / Reuters

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