A German district court has declared a strict lockdown imposed by the government of the central state of Thuringia last spring unconstitutional, as it acquitted a person accused of violating it.
An insignificant case of a man celebrating his birthday with seven friends ended in a “politically explosive” ruling.
The Weimar district court acquitted the man and said the authorities breached Germany’s basic law.
Thuringia’s spring lockdown was a “catastrophically wrong political decision with dramatic consequences for almost all areas of people’s lives,” the court said. It particularly condemned a restriction limiting private gatherings to the members of one household and one person outside of it.
The judge said that the regional government itself violated the “inviolably guaranteed human dignity” secured by Article 1 of the German basic law in the first place by imposing such restrictions.
The court stated the government lacked sufficient grounds and only lawmakers, not regional governments, can introduce such extreme measures.
The lockdown imposed in Thuringia represented “the most comprehensive and far-reaching restrictions on fundamental rights in the history of the Federal Republic,” the court said while calling the measures an attack on the “foundations of our society” that was “disproportionate.”
The decision only applies locally, but it did cause a media stir as Merkel continues the stringent lockdown.