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Possession of child pornography has been downgraded to a misdemeanor in Germany

Possession of child pornography has been downgraded to a misdemeanor in Germany

As reported by the German Parliament, in a controversial move passed a bill which downgrades possession of child sexual abuse material from a felony to a misdemeanor. The decision, issued on Thursday, has raised concerns among conservative lawmakers and activists.

Under the new legislation, possession and acquisition of child pornography will be punishable by a minimum sentence of three months in prison, while distribution will carry a minimum sentence of six months in prison. This revision reclassifies these offenses as misdemeanors, rather than felonies. The bill successfully secured the majority of votes in Parliament, according to Reduxx.

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Prior to this change, a 2021 reform had upgraded the offense to a felony, with a minimum sentence of one year. It is important to note that the maximum penalties introduced in 2021 will still remain in place, according to sources in Parliament.

Opposition to the bill has come from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), as stated in a press release. The CDU ensures that the distribution, possession and acquisition of child pornography should be classified as crimes. While acknowledging certain practical challenges arising from increasing the penalty range, the CDU argues against a general reduction in the penalty range. Instead, they propose limiting changes to specific problem cases to effectively address them.

In defense of the bill, Parliament justifies its decision by highlighting cases where parents and teachers, who discovered child pornography on older children or teenagers and shared it with other parents, were disproportionately punished by the 2021 reforms. This reasoning was presented in a March press release.

Surprisingly, the pro-pedophile activist group Krumme-13, also known as K13, has praised the bill. In a post on Dieter Gieseking's blog, published on May 17, the group welcomes the parliament's decision, saying it “removes the unconstitutional toughening of punishments.” Gieseking, who has faced charges related to alleged possession of child pornography, is the founder of K13, as noted by Reduxx.

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The German federal government, in its draft law, recognizes the need for reform based on feedback and demands from various sources. It claims the 2021 law failed to ensure the appropriate reaction to crime and culpability in each individual case. The Conference of Justice Ministers of the Länder supports the call for reform, as mentioned in the Parliament's declaration.

Critics argue that the bill lacks specific statutory exceptions for certain scenarios and instead broadly downgrades possession of child pornography as a crime. This omission has raised concerns about the potential implications of the new legislation.

The decision to downgrade possession of child sexual abuse material has generated heated debate among lawmakers, activists and concerned citizens. As the bill becomes law, the impact of this change will no doubt be closely watched by supporters of tougher penalties for these heinous crimes.

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