A doctor in Berlin, Germany was sentenced to two years in jail for illegally writing over 4,000 exemptions from wearing face masks during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to the prison sentence, a regional court in the southwestern town of Weinheim handed her a three-year work ban and a 28,000 euro ($29,550) fine – the amount she received for issuing the certificates. Her office assistant was fined 2,700 euros.
According to the court, the doctor was convicted of “issuing incorrect health certificates” to people across Germany, most of whom she had never met or examined.
“The process is more reminiscent of a sale of certificates than a medical procedure,” said the court in a statement, adding that she was not faulted for providing certificates to her existing patients.
During the trial the defendant had argued that wearing masks was harmful to people’s health.
The doctor’s lawyer intends to appeal the verdict, public broadcaster SWR reported.
Dozens of supporters gathered outside the court in Weinheim, north of Heidelberg, to protest against the verdict and Germany’s pandemic restrictions.
German ended mask mandates in indoor settings last year, though they are still in place on long-distance trains, in doctors’ offices, hospitals, nursing homes and some regional public transport.