Incest is not a human right, a European court has ruled. The not-surprising decision was passed down yesterday by the International European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, in response to a suit by a German man who has had four children with his biological sister. Dad Patrick Stuebing, 35, has been convicted several times for incest. He argued that the German law banning incest "violates the fundamental right to respect for private and family life" guaranteed by the European Convention for Human Rights. The seven justices ruled unanimously that while German officials did indeed interfere with Stuebing's private life, the incest prohibition is "aimed at the protection of morals and the rights of others," and was thus permissible, reports Der Spiegel.
Stuebing was removed from his home near Liepzig at the age of 3 and placed in foster care because he was sexually assaulted by his father. He first met his biological sister when he was 24 and she was 16, and they had their first child the following year. He has spent some three years in prison for incest. His sister has never been charged due to her "timid and withdrawn personality structure," according to court documents. The two now live apart, and three of the children—including two who are handicaped—are in foster care. Yesterday's ruling can be appealed. (Read more European Court of Human Rights stories.)