Friday, Nov 27th, 2009
Juergen and Rosemary Dudek of Archfeldt, Germany, were sentenced to 90 days in prison in July 2008 because they homeschool their children. Their sentence was overturned by an appeals court because of a legal error, and a new trial was ordered. Their new trial began November 16. German news reports indicate the judge appears disposed to seek a compromise. But prosecutor Herwig Mueller has vowed to appeal any sentence that does not include jail time for these parents, who have been in the spotlight for years because of their insistence on homeschooling. This was the same prosecutor who appealed the lower court sentence of only a fine, saying to the family, “You don’t have to worry about the fine because I will send you to jail.”
Armin Eckermann, president of the homeschool organization, Schuzh, was present at the trial. He told HSLDA the judge was seeking a compromise.
“This judge said that he thought a jail sentence was too harsh for the Dudek family under this situation,” said Eckermann. “But the prosecutor took a hard line.”
The new trial was continued to next week after more than seven hours of testimony. This included an outburst by Mr. Mueller when Mr. Dudek asked the local school officials if they knew the current laws that criminalize homeschoolers were based on laws from 1938. Mr. Mueller loudly protested: “All those Nazi laws have been suspended, and this one is democratic, and you’ve got to accept it, and that’s it.”
Mr. Dudek disagrees.
“The ‘schuhlpflicht’—the laws that require school attendance—are on the books in the German states,” he explained, “and have been traced back to the ‘Reichsculpflicht Gesetz’ [federal compulsory attendance laws] which was passed in 1938. Except for the removal of references to the Nazi party, these laws are identical or substantially the same as the laws passed by Hitler’s government, criminalizing parents who keep their children home for school.”
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This article was posted: Friday, November 27, 2009 at 5:08 am