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European court supports guilty verdict in incest case

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled yesterday that German courts did not violate a Leipzig man's rights by convicting him for incest with his younger sister, with whom he has fathered four children.

Patrick Stuebing, born in 1976, was in care as a child and only came into contact with his biological family in 2000. That year he developed a consensual sexual relationship with his sister. From 2001 to 2005, they had four children together.

Mr Stuebing was sentenced to 14 months in prison in 2005. The ECHR said the German courts did not convict his sister because she has a personality disorder and was "only partially liable" for her actions. Mr Stuebing claimed his rights to private and family life were violated; the case prompted calls for Germany to follow France, Turkey, Japan and Brazil in ruling that consensual sexual relations between adult relatives are no longer illegal.