German Convicted Murderer Sues Wikipedia to Remove His Name

November 12, 2009

(ChattahBox)—In what may become a legal battle between U.S. First Amendment rights and strict German privacy laws protecting its citizens from unwanted publicity, a German convicted murderer is demanding that any mention of his name be removed from Wikipedia. Wolfgang Werle was sentenced to life in prison in 1993 for the lurid murder of actor Walter Sedlmayr and wants any mention of his name associated with Sedlmayr’s murder be censored. The convicted murderer claims the Wikipedia entry is interfering with his rehabilitation.

A portion of the current Wikipedia entry reads:

“In July 1990, Sedlmayr was found dead and mutilated in his bedroom. Through lurid reports in the Munich tabloid press, his homosexuality became a matter of public knowledge for the first time. In 1993, half-brothers Manfred Lauber and Wolfgang Werle, former business associates of Sedlmayr, were sentenced to life in prison for his murder. They were released on parole in 2007 and 2008.”

The Wikipedia page also makes note of Werle’s cease and desist order filed against the online encyclopedia.

The lawyer for Werle is claiming that a factual entry about a past event involving his client should be censored under German law so as not to impede Werle’s rehabilitation:

Werl’s “rehabilitation and his future life outside the prison system is severely impacted by your unwillingness to anonymize any articles dealing with the murder of Mr. Walter Sedlmayr with regard to our client’s involvement. As your article deals with a local German public figure (such as the actor Walter Sedlmayr), we expect you are aware that you have to comply with applicable German law.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warns that if Wikipedia and other news sources were forced to censor material based on foreign censorship laws, “then we will not be able to believe what we read.”

Source: Huffington Post


2 Responses to “German Convicted Murderer Sues Wikipedia to Remove His Name”

  1. Old Man Dotes on November 12th, 2009 7:56 pm

    Manfred Lauber and Wolfgang Werle were sentenced in 1993 to life in prison for the 1990 murder of Walter Sedlmayr. Do they plan to sue Twitter, too? How about Facebook? And then there’s the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and thousands of other online publications that *will* get comments and blog entries to remind the world that these two animals brutally murdered a human being.

  2. Dirkdexter on November 12th, 2009 10:46 pm

    I’m still trying to figure out how “life in prison” equals 15 years. Or how this person thinks they should be entitled to any privacy rights what-so-ever after such a conviction, I don’t care what country their from.

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