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Court of Strasbourg: ruling in the Annen case (antiabortion campaign), freedom of expressions ends when it becomes a “personal charge” that damages other people’s dignity

Klaus Günter Annen is a German citizen born in 1951, a fierce antiabortionist who for four times has been sued and taken to court in Germany for the language of his antiabortion campaigns, and every time the judges ordered Annen to remove from his campaigns strong language against specific doctors. Annen thought such rulings breached his freedom of expression and turned to the European Court for Human Rights, which however today, in a unanimous ruling, stated that “there has been no breach” of Article 10 of the European Convention. The ruling points out that “the national authorities thoroughly reviewed” the materials Annen used in his campaigns (leaflets and website), that the orders did not breach Annan’s freedom of expression, thus agreeing with the German courts’ rulings that “Annen’s language could be read as personal charges” against specific doctors “for committing aggravated murders”. In the campaigns for which he had been sued in 2005-2007, Annen wrote about abortion as of “aggravated murder” or compared abortion to the Holocaust and the doctors (whom he named) to leaders of lagers.

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