EU court upholds ruling to take kids from Christian sect families due to alleged abuse

The children of the members of a Christian sect in Germany won't be under the care of their parents any longer. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) upheld the German court's ruling to put them in foster care after their parents were accused of practising caning as a form of punishment.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of German authorities over Twelve Tribes parents who caned their children.Wikimedia Commons/Blogtrepreneur

Eight kids from the Twelve Tribes sect have been removed from their parents' care via a court ruling in 2013. An appeal from four families brought the case to the ECHR but it ruled in favor of the German court's decision.

"The parents had remained convinced during the proceedings that corporal punishment was acceptable," the ECHR ruling cited.

German authorities transferred 40 children to foster care after news reports and videos released in 2013 appeared to show their parents caning them. The parents defended that the intervention by the authorities violated their constitutional rights as parents. The parents also complained that the local courts took years to decide on their cases and demanded compensation.

The ECHR, however, stated that the German authorities were left without any option as the parents refused to change their belief that corporal punishment was right.

The human rights court, however, asked the German courts to pay $21,000 to two families for the delay in their case. The ECHR, on the other hand, rejected the claims of the other families since the authorities actively pursued the case against them for two years.

A German journalist went undercover to document the activities of the Twelve Tribes after receiving tips. Aside from recording the caning on video, the sect has also been accused of racism.

The community, which Gene Spriggs founded in 1972 in Tennessee, believes that corporal punishment drives out the evil in children. The Twelve Tribes communities have at least 3,000 followers in the U.S., Canada and Europe.