ECHR: A. v. Germany (no. 6) (application no. 3779/11)

The applicant, K. G. A., is a German national who was born in 1951 and lives inWeinheim (Germany). He is a campaigner against abortion. The case concerned Mr A.’s criminal conviction for insult. Mr A. published a press release online in December 2007, criticising stem-cell research and agroup of scientists researching at the University of Bonn. He mentioned one professor by name and compared the research to experiments on humans under the Nazi regime.

In November 2008 the domestic courts found that Mr A. had insulted the professor by comparing the scientist to doctors conducting experiments on humans in concentration camps and sentenced him to 30 daily fines of 15 euros each. His appeals against that conviction were ultimatelydismissed by the Court of Appeal in February 2010.

Relying on Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights, Mr A. complained that his criminal conviction for insult had interfered with his freedom of expression without being justified by the protection of the professor’s personality rights. His press release had sought to contribute to a public debate and not to personally attack the professor. In the applicant’s view the domestic courts had not taken full account of the fact that the professor had acted as a spokesperson for the scientists and had therefore already been part of the public debate.

No violation of Article 10

Press realease ECHR 348 (2018) 18/10/2018