Friday, April 28, 2006

How do you prosecute a cannibal of a willing victim?

I advertise for a person who wants to be eaten. Ugh! If you feel disgusted, do not read further.

Let us say a person A accepts the proposal. I film the whole "event" so that there is evidence of consensuality. Should the law punish me?

When I first heard of this event during a seminar in Germany, it boggled my mind. (To be honest I was shit-scared of going out for a couple of days!) But the more I knew about it, a couple of lessons emerged. And I shall construct this incident from memory for the lessons rather than provide a complete factual account.

Meiwes did post an advertisement on the internet asking for a willing victim for consumption. Brandes applied. The process was consensual. This act of cannibalism horrified the nation. You can get a better account of it in Victim of cannibal agreed to be eaten or some of the gory details in Prosecutors plan cannibal appeal.

I will recount the part where it gets interesting. Cannibalism is not illegal in German law. Probably nobody must have thought of making it an offence. There seemed no grounds to arrest him. However the lawyers were determined to prosecute him. They took recourse to a tiny ignored aspect of the law, "desecration of the dead". There was enough video footage to show that he had continued eating even after the man was dead. That was reason enough to start prosecuting him. I found that quite creative on part of the lawyers.

When I Googled up on the case a couple of days back, it seemed the prosecution wanted to press charges for murder and not man-slaughter. But aren't they the same? For that you need to answer this question.
Henry visits Alice and John who are now married. He tries to shoot John but misses him and kills Alice, sitting in a rocking chair behind John. Has Henry murdered Alice?

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