German prosecutor requests appeal in Latzel case

25-05-2022

Central Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Pastor Latzel (l.). Photo epd, Tristan Vankann

The prosecutor of Bremen has appealed the verdict of the Regional Court of Bremen against pastor Latzel. On May 20, that Court acquitted Latzel of the charge of incitement.

The prosecutor requested revision from the Oberlandgericht, the higher regional court, a spokesperson from the Oberlandgericht told the German press service IDEA. That was reported by Dutch daily, Reformatorisch Dagblad.

After the Regional Court of Bremen acquitted Latzel, the prosecutor had seven days to appeal the decision. Tuesday was the fourth day, the Reformatorisch Dagblad writes.

Whether the appeal will occur, the prosecution will have to decide based on a written motivation about the verdict of May 20, PRO reports. If the appeal goes through, the Oberlandgericht will only check whether the ruling of May 20 contains judicial errors.

Protestant leaders Germany disagree with verdict

Although the Bremen Regional Court has acquitted Pastor Olaf Latzel from the charge of incitement to hatred, leading representatives of the Protestant Church in Germany are convinced of Latzel's wrongdoings.

The president of the Protestant Reformed Church, Susanne Bei der Wieden, posted a tweet that reads: "Latzel's acquittal changes nothing: As a Christian committed to the Bible, I strongly condemn his homophobic statements. The Bremen judgment unilaterally agrees with a shallow Biblicalism. But Biblical theology bears witness to God as the Creator of all forms of life!" That is reported by the German protestant news service Idea.

In addition, the protestant bishop Thomas Adomeit from Oldenburg also laments the acquittal of Latzel. According to him, the court decision should be accepted. Yet, he disapproves of Latzel's statements. In Adomeit's opinion, Latzel's words do not correspond to the Christian worldview and view of man and to "what we proclaim from the pulpit."

EKD tweets support for LGBT community

The Protestant Church of Germany (EKD) also responded to the verdict with a tweet. It wrote: "All people, including members of the LGBTQI+ community, are called to shape their partnership based on the Biblical commandment to love. That applies, regardless of all court decisions."

In another tweet, the EKD declared that it rejected any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity for theological and ethical reasons.

The Protestant Church of Bremen had relieved Latzel of his duties as long as the court proceedings were ongoing. Officially he is allowed to work again, but according to the Evangelische Zeitung, it is yet unclear how the disciplinary measures will end.

Incitement to hatred

Pastor Olaf Latzel from Bremen was prosecuted for calling homosexuality "degenerative" and the gay lobby "a devilish thing." In earlier hearings, he was charged with incitement to hatred. Still, recently, the Bremen Regional Court acquitted him of the accusations.

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