Freedom of speech upheld for German academic

Freedom of speech upheld for German academic


Written by: IRR European News Team

Sabine Schiffer, the anti-racist academic accused of slandering a police officer when she suggested institutional neglect could have been a factor in the recent Marwa al-Sherbini case, has been acquitted.

Marwa al-Sherbini was stabbed to death in a Dresden court room by the man (a known xenophobe) against whom she was giving evidence. Her husband was shot (in error) by a policeman during the melee that followed the stabbing. Dr Sabine Schiffer, director of the Institute for Media Responsibility in Erlangen and an expert on racism in the media, had asked in interviews and articles following the event whether institutional neglect could have contributed to the mistaken shooting. She had never named the officer nor accused him of racist attitudes or of acting intentionally. An internal police inquiry cleared him of wrongdoing. But he went on to accuse Dr Schiffer of slander.

A group of academics, journalists, trades unionists, politicians and peace campaigners rallied to Schiffer’s cause by forming an Action Group Against Racism and for Freedom and Expression and Academic Freedom. The group’s view that ‘it should not be illegal to put forward a thesis … so as to improve out insights into how racism works’ was upheld by the Erlangen Municipal Court on 24 March. In dismissing the allegation of slander against the police officer, the court held that Schiffer’s right to criticise the police was in line with the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of  freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

Related links

Read an IRR News story: ‘Germany: freedom to speak on racism under threat’

Read an IRR News story: ‘Germany: why did Marwa al-Sherbini die?’

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

0 thoughts on “Freedom of speech upheld for German academic

  1. im am part of the romany gyspy an im not happy over wot iv read insted of diciding for us let us decide for are selfs its are kids futer here not yours give us are own lands were we are free to cum an goEMAIL:

  2. Futhermore why has a public enquiry ever been held to review these issues and why are GRT decessions being made without consulting various recognised GRT repersentives to ensure their rights are upheld within issues relating to all housing, medical, education, and equality. Indeed maybe the current tory govenment needs to read and uphold the following 6 laws of equality if inclusion, equality and diversity are to be upheld and allow all GRT fsamiles to live & practice their traditinal ways free from HOUSING & EDUCATIONAL BIGOTS AND PREJUDICES.

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