German cannibal seeks review of manslaughter conviction

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Yes, he carved up and ate another human being, but it was not without the victim’s express consent—so goes the defense of Armin Meiwes, known as the ‘German cannibal,’ following appeals by both sides, defense and prosecution, of the verdict.

While Meiwes was convicted to 8 ½ years in prison for the manslaughter killing and eating of another human, Bernd Juergen Brandes, he argues that the victim had volunteered to be eaten, advertising the fact that he wanted someone to take part in “slaughter and consumption” on the Internet.

Testimony in the case showed that Brandes wanted to die a stabbing death after imbibing a bottle of cold medicine to lose consciousness.

Brandes “came to me of his free will to end his life,” said Meiwes. He believes his actions are a mercy killing, not manslaughter.

The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, the highest court in the country, is reviewing the January 2004 conviction. The trial gained notoriety both from graphic descriptions Meiwes gave during the proceedings, as well as a grisly video presented to the judges in closed session.

Meiwes seeks a reduction in sentence to 5 years, while the prosecution believes the cutting and dismembering deserves not just the full 8 ½ years already passed against the defendant, but a life sentence.

The court should decide by Friday, April 22, 2005.

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