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A German Victory for Free Speech
by Andrew E. Harrod
In a letter dated October 10, 2012, and received by its addressee four days later, the Marburg, Germany state prosecutor announced a suspension in the prosecution of medical historian Dr. Armin Geus. As discussed in my recent FrontPage Magazine article, Geus had run afoul of German authorities because of his book Die Krankheit des Propheten (The Sickness of the Prophet), in which Geus had argued that Islam's prophet Muhammad was not divinely led, but rather psychologically disturbed. Despite this victory for free speech with respect to Islam, briefs submitted by Geus' defense lawyers and a public declaration by a German Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) highlight various long-term issues still seeking ultimate resolution.
One such brief from September 8, 2012, requesting document review, petitioned for an immediate end to the prosecution, as "indices for a possible criminal liability are far and wide not recognizable and therefore a criminal procedure should not have even been initiated." Geus' "unjustly incriminated Work" was rather a "strictly scientific examination, which rests upon facts and the methodical research and presentation of facts." In fact, Germany's "most respected" top ten non-fiction book list compiled by the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) selected Die Krankheit des Propheten for the month of June 2011. Serving on the selection committee were twenty jurors, almost all with doctoral degrees and including many professors. Geus' book "therefore falls under scientific freedom and simply cannot be a charge under criminal law."
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