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Germany scraps postwar convictions of gays under Nazi law

Article 175 of the penal code outlawed "sexual acts contrary to nature... Be it between people of the male gender or between people and animals".



Berlin: Germany will annul the convictions of 50,000 men for homosexuality under a Nazi-era law which remained in force after the war, and will compensate them, the government said today.

"We can never completely erase the travesty of justice, but we want to rehabilitate the victims," Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement.

"They should not have to live with the stigma of conviction any longer."

Article 175 of the penal code outlawed "sexual acts contrary to nature... Be it between people of the male gender or between people and animals".

Although the article dated from 1871, it was not really enforced until the Nazis came to power and in 1935, 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 which overturned their convictions, and also applied to those convicted of desertion during Nazi rule.

But that move didn't include those convicted after the war when article 175 was still in force, leading to the convictions of another 50,000 people.

"Article 175 was unconstitutional from the outset," the justice minister said.

"The old rulings are unjust."

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In West Germany, it reverted to the pre-Nazi era version in 1969 and was only fully repealed in 1994.

From Zee News

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