This is a travesty. A German man, Wolfgang Werle, is suing the Wikimedia Foundation because the Wikipedia entry for the late actor Walter Sedlmayr contains his name.
That's because Werle and his half-brother, Manfred Lauber, murdered Sedlmayer in 1990. They tied him up in his apartment, beat him, and stabbed him to death. Werle served 15 years in prison for the murder. Now that he's out, he doesn't want anyone to mention his full name in connection with his victim ever again.
And the worst part of this ludicrous lawsuit? German law is on his side. Under laws designed to help ex-cons reintegrate into society, publications (including online archives) are restricted from printing the full names of convicted criminals in relation to their crimes.
Why not apply this to all criminals and all criminal acts, while we're at it? Why not amend all history books to read "In 194-, Adolph H. attacked an Eastern European country that shall remain nameless"? Or insist that Ripperologists always write "Jack the R. killed eight prostitutes"?
If you murder someone, you're going to have to live with that until the end of your days. Fair or unfair, that's life. I sincerely hope that society won't be foolish enough to snap its spine bending over backwards to make you more comfortable with your criminal past, at the expense of your victims.
Wolfgang Werle murdered Walter Sedlmayr. No amount of repressive legislation or draconian censorship is going to change that.
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