Lawyering-up Medicine Uncategorized

Bavarian court sentences me to prison if I dare repeat unwelcome facts of Walles’ trachea transplants

Just before the end of the year 2016, I received per mail an official letter from the Bavarian Regional Court in Würzburg, where I was found guilty of lies and libel in a trial I was not invited to. Under the threat of a prison sentence of 6 months (since I could never pay even a fraction of the fine of €250,000) I was ordered by the judge to remove a short paragraph from this article which described the same tracheal transplants which the Würzburg University professors Heike and Thorsten Walles were proudly promoting through all available media only a couple of years ago. Now, when the trachea transplant scandal around their former collaborator Paolo Macchiarini exploded, the mere reference to their earlier common publications amounts to a crime of libel in the German state of Bavaria. I was also sentenced to pay the court costs, though I only learned about this Kafkaesque “Prozeß” once a final decision against me was delivered by mail. Luckily, I still have the right to appeal, which I will do once I recruit a suitable legal counsel. If you wish to help in any way, please get in touch.

Thus, my constitutional right to free speech has been denied to me by a Bavarian judge named Pösch who decided to rely on the eminence of two local professors and their elite lawyer instead of even considering the straightforward evidence under his very nose. The main reason for this swift in absentia court action against me: the Walleses are currently applying for professorships elsewhere. Apparently, their prospective academic employers must under no circumstances find out about the three tracheal transplants which these two researchers performed: Thorsten Walles as surgeon and Heike Walles as the maker of the pig-intestine-based windpipes.  Normally, I would not mind serving 6 months in a German prison for stating mere facts which even the Walles couple never denied (they and their lawyer convinced the judge by slandering myself and twisting the meaning of my texts in the most disreputable way), but I have a family and cannot afford taking up this exciting offer of a half-a-year-vacation in a Bavarian prison. But if I should be made to serve time for daring to repeat published facts, I will be probably the first one in the Federal Republic of Germany to do so. In Bavaria, you can obviously quote from all possible books, but not from a 2013 book about a tracheal transplant. 

The court decision is available below in my translation, the near-full court file is available here [not available after court settlemtn, LS]. The previous lawyer’s letter from December 5th,  which instructed me to pay €3000 and submit myself in writing to the will of the Walleses, is available here [not available after court settlemtn, LS]. For details of the tracheal transplants, please read this article



The opponent is by way of an interim injunction with a penalty of up to two hundred and fifty thousand Euro or a prison term of up to six months – also when the administrative fee cannot be paid – for any infringement


on the website ”

to assert or to spread:

[text removed after court settlement -LS]


  1. The applicant must bear the costs of the appeal.
  2. The amount in dispute shall be € 25,000.00.


On the basis of the facts, reference is made to the legal motion dated 19.12.2016 and the documents submitted with it.

In particular, the applicants have also made sufficient credentials by submitting affidavits (§ 294 ZPO) that the applicant is on the website has made the objected (false) statements.

The disputable claims are capable of denigrating the claimants and showing towards them contempt. The right to the decision is thus derived from §§ 1004 para. 1 BGB, 823 para. 2 BGB i.V.m. §§ 186, 187 StGB i.V.m. Article 2 (1), Art. 1 (1) Constitution.

The reason for the dispute arises from the fact that such assertions can cause enormous damage on the internet solely through accessibility, and, moreover, the applicant has made 2) sufficiently credible to currently take part in two application procedures for appointment as professors to another university.

The interim injunction was therefore to be adopted as requested.

The Walles couple and their lawyer drove a hard strategy to discredit my person before the judge. Not being there or even aware, I was unable to prove that I am not a despicable lying scoundrel as which I was presented.  First of all, my accusers presented it to the court as a fully established fact that I would hide my identity and not offer an “about me” (in German “Impressum”) information on my site. In reality, that page exists since my site does, it links to my academic CV, is in fact clearly visible and is used by my readers to contact me regularly. If the judge Pösch would have bothered to go online to check, he would have seen that page immediately.

The Walleses and their lawyer accused me of using “third-source information” only. In fact, in my main follow-up article (which they even supplemented to the judge as evidence against me) I mostly quoted from official institutional press releases, Thorsten Walles’ own interviews and a PhD thesis his wife Heike Walles supervised. Another source is a Walles-extolling book by a German journalist, a book which I am accused not to have interpreted “properly”as instructed by the lawyer. The relevant book chapter was also supplemented to the court, yet obviously the judge decided not to read it, but to fully trust the lawyer’s interpretation instead. Noteworthy, the Walleses never deny that their last patient (an Indian immigrant who originally arrived to Germany illegally and eventually acquired a legal status) received a tracheostomy (which in turn clearly indicated a failure of the graft). The book’s author also confirmed to me in his email that this tracheostomy was indeed re-opened shortly after the tracheal transplant.

The same book clearly narrated that the previous two patients were transplanted with an “artificial” trachea and died soon after. I contacted the University of Würzburg with a Freedom of Information inquiry on October 24th, with a brief catalogue of questions including the request to explain what I understood to be “plastic” tracheas. My inquiry went unanswered for two weeks, thus I included a first version of the paragraph in a Macchiarini article from November 7th 2016, which now brought the wrath of Bavarian justice upon me. The Walleses also admit in their letter to court to have been informed about my inquiry to their University from the beginning, but neither they nor University of Würzburg chose to explain to me these previous trachea transplant operations. In fact, on November 18th, the university’s spokesperson announced to me to refuse any of the requested information about the three tracheal transplants. On November 29th, she reiterated this position, while the legal action against me was being finalised. Also the other academic employer of Heike Walles, the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart, branch of the Fraunhofer Society, categorically refused to share any information about the tracheal transplants, in the email from December 5th 2016 and afterwards. Importantly, neither of these public academic research institutions ever denied my supposition that there were indeed two plastic trachea transplants.

Back then I wondered why, but now I understand: they apparently wanted to make their professors’ court case against me stronger. The University of Würzburg has therefore decided to silently support a court action against a curious blogger instead of answering simple questions. This is evident by the fact that the Walleses were apparently encouraged to use their official work affiliations with the University Clinic Würzburg, both in the lawyer’s letter from December 5th as well as in the court decision from December 27th, despite my unanswered protest note to the legal department of the Würzburg University. Also, the University expressed their support by bluntly refusing to follow up on my complaint about their professors behaviour.The University of Würzburg and possibly also the Fraunhofer Society were obviously revelling in the pleasure of watching an annoying blogger squashed by their two professors of regenerative medicine, and to have these three tracheal transplants (which no-one seems to be proud of these days) buried forever. It does sound to be a perverse attitude to accept, but there are hardly any other reasonable explanations.

Only after my own prolonged internet search prompted by the lawyer’s letter from December 5th 2016 (my reply to it here) was I able to reconstruct that all tracheal transplants were made from pig intestine, as described in my follow-up article from December 10th 2016. I also changed the text of the previous article, but even that is to be punished with 6 months of prison. Obviously, there is simply no “correct” version of these trachea transplant events, except total silence. 

Are pig-intestine-made tracheas really that much safer and better than plastic ones? A clinical trial with 15 patients, for which the Walleses received funding from the German Ministry for Education and Research, never took place. The method hasn’t been applied since, not by Walleses or anyone else. The University of Würzburg and the Fraunhofer Society even refused to connect or dis-connect the last two tracheal transplants to their own recent matching publications, where these patients’ antecedent deaths went unmentioned (Mertsching et al 2009 and Steinke et al, 2015). In any case, it is mind-boggling how any court could have deemed as libel a mere supposition of plastic material for a trachea transplant. Until 2014, the European Union was actually funding a huge clinical trial based on plastic windpipes, and even in 2015, the University Clinic Heidelberg was apparently developing 3D-printed plastic tracheas!

Finally, the insinuation of the Walleses and their lawyer that I would illegally carry a fake doctorate, surely helped them to sufficiently convince the judge of my general shiftiness and despicability so he did not bother reading what such a person actually wrote in his foreign-language blog.

Beware of German universities, their professors and the German courts. Now you know why research and medicine scandals are so rare in German media.

If you wish to help my case, please contact me here, through this “About me and contact” page, which according to the Bavarian state court decision has never existed.

Update 11.01.2017. Please read an interview with me with the French magazine Mediapart, a German version is also available.

If you would like to support my court litigation financially, donation amount doesn’t matter, please go to my Patreon site or contact me

44 comments on “Bavarian court sentences me to prison if I dare repeat unwelcome facts of Walles’ trachea transplants

  1. My God. Sweden is obviously much better so far in dealing with trachea-scandal. Instead of investigating why people died after operations the German court attacks blogger who merely ask questions. How the hell they could take the decision without even contacting you? If you got the decision by letter, they had to write some address on the envelope, right?


  2. Probably this weird process form was not in accordance with European guidelines, guidelines which always topples national law. By arguing that direction you would at least delay the case and increase media attention, something which the Walleses may like less than you.
    The case made by the Walleses is not very compelling. It is about the correctness of individual facts and not about the larger story. If journalists should go to jail or pay hefty fines for each time they have part of the facts wrong, that would very much be the end of free journalism. You could ask an organization of journalists whether they have a good lawyer.
    Intriguing is that they do not ask for a rectification but for a deletion of a precise text fragment. This suggests that they are very uncomfortable with the truth and do not want to express that truth. Correction of journalism usually happens by replacing wrong messages with better versions. There is no indication that you have been unwilling to do so.
    Other than that you have to remove a precise text fragment, the judge doesn’t demand much. It may have been the major part of the plan by the Walleses to have you pay the court fee by setting a for them easily reachable target (the text fragment removal), as they may guess that for you that is a lot of money. Because, what good does the removal of a text fragment do them? If having you pay court fees was their major target indeed, such would be an inappropriate use of the legal system.
    The deletion of only one text fragment, without specifying what can’t be said, and without requiring a rectification, also argues against the “urgency” which they claimed was necessary for the unusual speed trial. Urgency would ask for rectification.


  3. I ordered the book by Bernhard Albrecht. When I get it, I will use it to edit the wikipedia articles Thorsten Walles and Heike Walles.

    Liked by 2 people

    • donbright

      Hard to comprehend this case. They could have just asked for a correction? Very unlikely this case would go forward if brought in the US (first amendment,bill of rights).


  4. I guess we can’t really know how much our freedoms have been eroded and how corrupt our various establishments are until we actually try to exercise the former at the expense of the latter…


  5. Bavaria was in the American zone. It was never de-nazified. It never had had left-wing goverment to clear them out.


  6. WTF???? Judged without a chance to speak? Was Germany transported into Mexico? (It fits easily)


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  8. herr doktor bimler

    I only learned about this Kafkaesque “Prozeß” once a final decision against me was delivered by mail.

    I did not realise that “Der Prozeß” is regarded in Bavarian legal circles as a model of jurisprudence.


  9. Wow! This resembles the Kafka’s world indeed! How it is even possible not to be informed you’re on trial until conviction?! If this does not violate constitution, than what does? I think the magnitude of the fine / jail sentence is calculated to scare you, as it is way over the top for a few of sentences (even if those were pure defamation, which is clearly not the case here, unless counterevidence is presented). These are surgeons who deal with human life, and this alone begs for full transparency!

    To cut a long story short: in a civilized world such a letter is a joke, sadly our world tends to de-cilvilize rapidly.


  10. Colin Paul de Gloucester

    Ich will aussagen. Ich bin zu beschäftigt mit anderen Prozessen, um vor 19. Januar 2017 auszusagen.

    Ich empfehle z. B. Herrn Rechtsanwalt Christian Zahnow LL.M, Osterbekstr. 92g, 22083 Hamburg – http://WWW.Medien-Anwalt.Hamburg und Tel.: 040 – 28 80 28 30 -.

    AUTHOR = {Sturm, Daniel Friedrich},
    TITLE = {{Damals waren sie Helden: Der ewige Dissident}},
    JOURNAL = {Welt am Sonntag},
    VOLUME = {2014},
    YEAR = {2014},
    NUMBER = {33},
    PAGES = {17},
    note ={International Newspaper Of The Year}


    »Sebastian Pflugbeil [. . .]
    [. . .]
    Ein Dissident war Pflugbeil, hatte Physik studiert, als
    Wissenschaftler in Berlin-Buch gearbeitet. Die Promoti-
    on war ihm verweigert worden, weil er den Mund nicht
    hielt; erst 1990 durfte er sie abschließen. Friedenssemi-
    nare hatte er in den 1980er-Jahren organisiert[. . .]
    [. . .]
    [. . .] Sebastian Pflugbeil ist immerhin Präsident der
    „Gesellschaft für Strahlenschutz“. Bis heute berät und
    unterstützt er Opfer des Uranbergbaus in der DDR, Ar-
    meeangehörige, Männer und Frauen, die durch Ra-
    daranlagen krank geworden sind. [. . .]
    [. . .] bei den Gerichtsverhandlungen zei-
    ge sich „nichts von Rechtsstattlichkeit“. Die Organisati-
    on „Kinder von Tschernobyl“ erfand und organisierte er
    nach 1990[. . .]
    [. . .]“


  11. Come on, calm down! So far, there is no judgment yet but just an “einstweilige Verfügung” (prelimiinary injunction). Seems to be the normal course of events in cases like this and has nothing to do with Kafka or Bavaria or whatever. Only Rule of Law at work.


    • Colin Paul de Gloucester

      HMS submitted:
      “[. . .] So far, there is no judgment yet but just an
      “einstweilige Verfügung” (prelimiinary injunction). Seems to be the normal
      course of events in cases like this [. . .]”

      Interlocutory injunctions are not normal in defamation law in England and Wales. Are they normal in Germany? I have not yet gotten an interlocutory injunction in Germany against e.g.:
      * the defamer “Dr.” Tiago Fleming Outeiro in Göttingen;
      * the defamer David Reay in Berlin;
      * defamation in Hamburg;
      * defamation in Bad Homburg v.d.H.

      “[. . .] Only Rule of Law at work.”

      Walles Gericht.pdf
      falsely imputed concealment of identity to Dr. Schneider. Lying about Dr. Schneider is not rule of law at work.


  12. Colin Paul de Gloucester

    Üble Nachrede von

    Walles Gericht.pdf

    »[. . .]

    Der Antragsgegner ist Internet-Blogger, der seine Identität weitgehend geheim hält und sich als ver-
    meintlicher Aufdecker von Wissenschaftsbetrug geriert. Ein Impressum ist auf seinem Internet-Blog
    entgegen dem Telemediengesetz nicht vorhanden.

    [. . .]«

    Ein sogenannter – oder soll das vermeintlicher sein? – Richter soll nicht verleumden. Vgl.
    (“Conniving Master Fontaine of the Queen’s Bench Division – 2nd Witness Statement of Claimant” von mir):
    »[. . .]
    1.32 To Chill Criticism that I make of Master Fontaine would Backfire
    301. It would not be a good idea to dare to profess contempt of
    court. Cf. Bono v France [2015] European Court of Human Rights
    29024/116; Rodriguez Ravelo v Spain [2016] European Court of Human
    Rights 48074/107; and Mustafa Erdoğan and Others v Turkey [2014]
    European Court of Human Rights 346/04 and 39779/04.
    302. Olivier Morice imputed connivance by judges. Cf. Morice v France
    [2015] European Court of Human Rights 29369/10 at 39. Therefore that
    person who dared to criticise judges was charged in defamation law. He
    imputed justly, therefore he won a judgment by the European Court of
    Human Rights.
    303. Master Fontaine professed only a strict subset of this claim at 6
    of this judgment dated 11/08/2016.
    304. Master Fontaine professed only a strict subset of my bases of
    opposition at 11 of this judgment dated 11/08/2016.
    305. Master Fontaine professed “full written submissions” at 16 of
    this judgment dated 11/08/2016 but this other side did not prove what
    it professes whereas I disproved what it and Master Fontaine profess.
    306. Master Fontaine was recklessly indifferent to the
    truth. Therefore I unfortunately infer that she (a judge of law of
    England and Wales) is dishonest. I did not expect dishonesty by a
    judge of the jurisdiction. De experiences of mine since the previous
    decade, I infer that many judges who are based in Coimbra are
    dishonest, namely vilifying Vera Cristina da Silva Gomes de Oliveira;
    immoral Isabel Mendes Simões; traducer Tiago Afonso Lopes de Miranda;
    conniving Carlos A. M. de Castro Fernandes; pervert Rosa Pinto;
    dishonest Ferreira Gapo; naughty Ana Carina Nascimento; conniving
    Beatriz Cruz; conniving Teresa Costa Alemão; calumniator Joaquim
    Cruzeiro (ha!, you thought that I would type conniving again) and
    slanderer Sara André dos Reis Marques.
    307. Judges in the putative Republic of Ireland are also immoral
    connivers. E.g. Fidelma Macken. Cf. Dubsky v The Government of Ireland
    & Ors [2005] IEHC 442,
    308. Judges in America are dishonest according to Ursula
    Castellano,. 2007, “Becoming a Nonexpert and Other Strategies for
    Managing Fieldwork Dilemmas in the Criminal Justice System”, Journal
    of Contemporary Ethnography 36 (6): 704–730.
    309. Lay magistrates are dishonest according to a lawyer in Germany.
    310. It is a pity that Master Fontaine did not show that judges in the
    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are honest. I
    hope that she is not representative of you. Please give me a fair
    [. . .]«

    Aber passen Sie auf,


  13. At least in non-criminal cases, and maybe it depends on the country, a judge has no obligation for truth finding. Judges can judge the truth as presented to them by parties. If there is only one party, such concept becomes quite absurd.
    Notable are:
    -The declarations under oath by the Walleses do not bring a much happier or convincing message than you posted. Three patients operated, three dead. For none of them they claim a successful transplant (although they probably did follow-up studies), they merely say that to their knowledge the patients did not die as a result from the transplant.
    -I get that they were sensitive about the “plastic” in the first version, but you changed that. For the rest I can understand that they would consider your text fragment insinuating, but that is not their complaint. The complaint is that it should be untrue, and that is hard for me to follow. Where is the already modified text fragment so untrue that a court order is needed for its removal? If I don’t understand that, the judge probably does neither. At least the judge did not make any attempt to explain his reasoning.
    -The message of the Walleses to you where they explain what was wrong in your first text version should be very important. Am I just missing that, or was it not included in this court case? That would be strange.


    • Colin Paul de Gloucester

      Robin submitted:
      “[. . .] Judges can judge the truth as presented to them by parties. If there is only one party, such concept becomes quite absurd.
      [. . .]”



  14. There is no sentence. Its merely an “einstweilige Verfügung”.


  15. I mean the idea is clear. Hypothetically in case the accusations on your web page, after the trial turn out to be not righteous (which doesn’t even mean they must be wrong) you would have caused a lot of damage to these people. Apparently they could make it clear to the judge that there is some prospect of them being right. And that of course should be all it needs for the judge to stop your activities until the thing is settled and the judes found a sentence or whatever. These measures have been taken to protect the W. from damage for the however likely or unlikely case their desire that you should stop is find righteous. I think this is a very good thing. I am happy to live in society were people are protected from “übler Nachrede”. I mean think twice: Once such a rumor (or lets say: barely tentative fact) is spread you will never be able to undo that.


    • Is it normal in this type of “einstweilige Verfuegung” to not specify what can’t be said, but only refer to a text fragment which can’t be repeated? Isn’t that weird?
      Just kidding: Maybe if Leonid doesn’t use the words “evenzually” or “recieved”, he can use the text fragments.


      • Well, I am not a lawyer but I guess for reasons of practicality they specify exactly the text which the other party was complaining about. I could imagine also the judge has other business to do but fantasise what not all could be paraphrased etc. And again maybe its not that easy to forbid anything in general without the court-suit.


  16. Unfortunately I am not a layer nor have I any money to help you hiring a good one…I can only tell you that you are right and they are wrong… the whole fucking fraud/corruption thing in academia stinks…


  17. StrangerInAStrangeLand

    The whole thing sounds rediculous and I hope everything will work out fine for you. Have you heard about the website “Popehat” ( The site is mainly about libel cases and free speech, run by laywers and importantly also read by laywers. Those sometimes also help pro-bono in cases where journalists and bloggers are threatened by the high and mighty. While the site is normally about US American law and I don´t know if they can help or would be interested in a German case, but it might be worth a shot. If you wish, you (or I) can drop them a note with a link to this article and see what they say. Worst case scenario if it would be published on Popehat, the way the Walles’ try to silence you and the way the Bavarian court handled this case might be brought onto the international stage.


  18. News media should be informed regarding this case. This is an interesting case both for journalism in general, but also for scientific integrity and openness. Some media covering will put the Walles’ even deeper into the doghouse.

    Your work is so damn important to get the biomedical research on the right track!


  19. I agree with the last two posts that journalism in general is involved. This court case as all the hallmarks of not having the intent it says, the protection of the good reputation of the Walleses, but instead appears to aim at bullying Leonid by having him pay process costs. If that can be done every time a journalist writes in a negative manner, that would be very bad for journalism. In this case Leonid corrected his first writing based on input from the Walleses, and there are no indications that he wouldn’t do so again if provided with good arguments. If docters/scientists perform a new type of operation which they celebrate in the media, if none of the three operated patients gets old (the term “died shortly after” is up for discussion), and if no evidence is presented that the grafted organ became fully accepted and functional, they have to reckon with some negative media coverage. It is just a natural part of their job, and it is up to them to describe a better version of the story. The court route should only be used as a last resort.


  20. Pingback: January 5, 2016 | Microbiome Digest - Bik's Picks

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