Gustl Mollath wants to leave Germany. “I would love to leave the country,” says the 64-year-old. And this assessment is no coincidence. For 2,747 days he was wrongly in a psychiatric ward – sent there by court as mentally ill and dangerous after his wife accused him of attacking her.
Nobody believed his story about his wife’s illicit business, who worked as a banker. Instead, it was included as evidence of his confusion and paranoia. Years later it became clear: Mollath had told the truth. His case was reopened, he came out of psychiatry; Authorities and politicians – above all the then Bavarian Justice Minister Beate Merk (CSU) – came under pressure.
“It wasn’t a miscarriage of justice, it was a state crime,” says Mollath’s supporter Wilhelm Schlötterer. He has documented the case in detail in his new book. “Other people are being played badly here in Bavaria, but the Mollath case was an excess.
The y wanted to muzzle him. “
The Mollath case can only show up in Bavaria”
The former civil servant Schlötterer has been an opponent of powerful CSU politicians for decades. As a tax officer, he made a name for himself at the beginning of 1993 by clearing up the so-called amigo affair, which led to the overthrow of the then Prime Minister Max Streibl (CSU).
The CSU has been in power here for decades and the judicial institution is completely dependent,” says Schlötterer. “In my estimation, the Mollath case could only take place in Bavaria and not in any other federal state. Here the public prosecutor is firmly in political hands. This creates a tendency for the judicial authorities to only act according to the wind. “
He assumes that the black money deals should be covered up because the Free State of Bavaria was involved in the bank.
Even if the Mollath case highlighted abuses in the penal system in Bavaria – from the point of view of Schlötterer and Mollath, far too little has changed since then. “It’s like with a wild dog: you throw a bone at it for a moment to keep it calm and then don’t care about it. I don’t see any real improvement. “
According to her office, the former Justice Minister Merk is currently “not interested” in talking about the case, as a spokeswoman said at the request of the German Press Agency.
Processing of structural deficits
The Bavarian judiciary dealt intensively with the criticism at the time,” a spokesman said on request, pointing out that the Free State “was essentially about it helped ”to work up“ structural deficits in the federal legal regulation for accommodation in psychiatric hospitals ”.
In the meantime, according to the Ministry, thanks also to a Bavarian initiative, the Criminal Procedure Code stipulates that people who are housed are regularly assessed by external experts whose qualifications are now subject to “increased requirements”.
At the end of 2019, according to the Bavarian Ministry of Social Affairs, 2,884 people were in prison in the Free State. In the previous year there were 2772, at the end of 2017 there were 2489. Those who were accommodated because of a mental illness spent an average of 5.42 years in psychiatry in 2019; addicts stayed there an average of 1.42 years.
The average length of stay has thus decreased somewhat. In 2017 it was 5.98 years for the mentally ill and 1.53 years for addicts. According to the Ministry of Justice, there is no statistical record of how many people receive compensation for a wrong judgment.
670,000 euros in compensation for Mollath
Mollath, who spent more than seven years in psychiatry, received a total of around 670,000 euros in compensation from the Free State after a legal dispute before the Munich I district court, he originally demanded 1.8 million euros.
This year he can go to the federal election for the first time, as he says. “This time I will be able to vote again for the first time and I have to expect that (Bavaria’s CSU Prime Minister Markus) Söder will be the next chancellor. That accelerates my desire to leave the country. “