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Court sentences German cannibal to life for murder

Written by: Staff
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FRANKFURT, May 9 (Reuters) A German court today handed down a life sentence to Armin Meiwes, the German cannibal jailed for killing a man and feeding on his flesh, overturning a previous manslaughter conviction.

Meiwes, 44, was on trial for the second time after Germany's top criminal court ruled his 2004 conviction was too lenient.

Meiwes severed the penis of computer engineer Bernd-Juergen Brandes in a bizarre pact hatched over the Internet. Both men tried to eat the severed organ, but without success. After heavy bleeding, Brandes finally fell unconscious.

Believing him to be dead, Meiwes laid his victim on a bench and plunged a knife into his neck while videotaping what he was doing.

He later froze parts of the body and ate some of it.

The Frankfurt court ruling means Meiwes could be eligible for parole after serving a mandatory 15 years in jail.

Last week, prosecutors demanded Meiwes' original eight-year manslaughter sentence be overturned and that he be jailed for life, arguing that he could murder again and this time without his victim's agreement.

Prosecution lawyers argued that Meiwes had killed to satisfy his sexual urges but his defence team said he had acted on his victim's request, a crime similar to euthanasia which in Germany carries a maximum prison term of five years.

During the trial, the court heard how Meiwes made contact with Brandes over the Internet and then met him at his home in the western town of Rotenburg in 2001.

REUTERS OM PM1921

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