No softies are the Germans on polite, Internet-enabled, sexual-homicidal-cannibalism! Just say nein to killing and eating your fellow man, mein herr.
Armin Meiwes, now 44, the "Rotenburg cannibal," was sentenced to life in prison today after he was found guilty of murder in a retrial of his infamous killing/cannibalism case. Meiwes had been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison in 2004 after being found guilty of the manslaughter of Bernd Juergen Brandes, but a judge ordered a retrial after ruling the sentence for the apparently consensual crime was too lenient (and embarrassing).
The pair met after Berlin engineer Brandes, 43, replied to an Internet chat room notice in which Meiwes solicited "young, well-built men aged 18 to 30 to slaughter," in March, 2001. Meiwes apparently waived his demographic parameters in the interest of expediency.
The former German army sergeant had eaten 20kg of the former Brandes accompanied by potatoes and a pepper or wine sauce and served on "good crockery" before he was caught in December, 2002.
A two-hour videotape of the "encounter" shows Brandes preparing for his impending demise by drinking a large quantity of alcohol and cold medicine, and swallowing twenty sleeping pills. Brandes allowed Meiwes to sever his penis from his body and fry the unfortunate digit, before they attempted to dine on it together. Sadly, Brandes passed out from loss of blood before he could eat himself. Meiwes then stabbed Brandes in the neck, carved up the corpse, froze pieces of it, and continued eating Brandes for several months thereafter.
Prosecutors claimed Meiwes killed his victim for his own sexual gratification, saying in court he "slaughtered his victim like a piece of livestock and treated him as an object of his fancy." Meiwes' lawyer admitted his client had a fetish for human flesh, but claimed he was no danger to society; a claim somewhat contradicted by the flayed computer engineer and the cannibal's own admission that he still had fantasies about devouring the flesh of attractive young people.
On March 3, 2006, the state court in Kassel, Germany, upheld a complaint from Meiwes against the film Rohtenburg, which was due for release in Germany on March 9, ruling that "Meiwes' rights as an individual outweighed artistic freedom."
Quite seriously, Germany obviously got a very sobering look at itself as a result of the original trial — a perversely relativistic society where homicidal deviancy is winked at because a severely disturbed victim agreed to participate in the unspeakable — and decided to back away from the "consensual" murder precipice.