In 2002, Gaefgen was detained after the eleven-year-old son of a banker disappeared. At the time of the interrogation, the police believed that the child was still alive. However, the child had already been bound and gagged to the point of suffocation before. Despite the conviction for murder, Gaefgen claimed that he had been subjected to inhumane treatment during the interrogation and won the case. The court accepted the claim and stressed that the two policemen did not try all alternative possibilities before threatening Gaefgen with “unimaginable pain”.
The ruling has triggered discussions about the absolute prohibition of torture in Germany but most of the political actors agreed with the judgment although some of them voiced moral concerns over paying damages to a convicted murderer.