Rapists awarded payout for long detention
Berlin - A German court on Tuesday awarded damages to four convicted rapists for having been held in preventive detention for too long, following a European Court of Human Rights ruling.
In what could be a landmark case, the regional court in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe ruled that the men, jailed in the 1970s and 1980s for rape and, in some cases, other crimes, should receive a total of €240 000.
The men, after completing their sentences, were ordered to be held in preventive detention as they were deemed likely to commit further offences.
At the time, preventive detention was limited to 10 years under German law.
But an amendment passed in 1998 allowed the detention to be extended indefinitely if it was judged necessary for public safety and was applied retroactively.
The four men, who now are aged between 55 and 65, were held a further eight to 12 years.
However in December 2009 Germany was found to be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights by the Strasbourg-based court and ordered it to pay damages.
The four, who were released from preventive detention in 2010, sued the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg where they had been held.
In awarding damages, the regional court based the amount on the European court's ruling of €500 a month compensation for time in custody.