The European Court of Human Rights said Thursday that Germany's ban on incest doesn't violate the fundamental right to protection of family life, BBC reported.
In the case brought before the court in Strasbourg, brother and sister Patrick Stuebing and Susan Karolewski of Germany argued they had a right to family life. The two had four children together, BBC reported, and two are characterized as disabled.
According to German law, sexual intercourse between relatives is punishable with i mprisonment for up to three years or a fine, Die Welt Online reported. Stuebing, 35, was handed several prison sentences and has already spent more than three years in prison, the German website said. His relationship with his sister has fallen to pieces as a result, something for which his lawyer believes German courts should be held responsible.
According to Die Welt, Karolewski wasn't convicted because she suffers from a severe personality disorder.
Stuebing and Karolewski didn't know each other as children. Stuebing had been adopted, and it wasn't until he was 24 that he tracked down his relatives. When their mother passed away, the siblings grew closer and fell in love, Welt Online reported.
Germany's law stems from the increased likelihood of disabled children resulting from incestuous relationships. Stuebing's attorney Endrik Wilhelm called the ruling "a big disappointment," Welt Online said, adding that the judge had not sufficiently explored the depth of the case.
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