Germany's Defense Minister Accused of Plagiarism

World | February 18, 2011, Friday // 08:44|  views

University President Ruediger Bormann holds up German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg's doctoral thesis, captured at the University of Bayreuth. Photo by BGNES

Germany's Defense Minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, has been accused of plagiarism committed in his PhD thesis.

The Suddeutsche Zeitung paper has published an article saying several long passages in the thesis were copied from other people's work.

The Minister, who is currently on a visit to Afghanistan, has denied the newspaper allegations dismissing them as absurd.

Gothenburg, 39, got top marks for his law dissertation from the University of Bayreuth. His thesis - titled Constitution and Constitutional Treaty: Constitutional Developments in the US and EU - was completed in 2006.

The Minister is very popular in Germany and has been part of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc since 2002. He is considered a possible future candidate for the top post, BBC writes Friday.

The Suddeutsche Zeitung claims Guttenberg copied, word for word, one passage from a newspaper article and another from a public lecture, without crediting them, while other texts were incorrectly cited.

Professor Barbara Zehnpfennig, whose newspaper article was allegedly used in the opening of the dissertation, told German news channel N24 that failing to credit another author "breaks all academic rules".

The paper suggests Guttenberg was under stress to finish his dissertation while working as a Member of Parliament.

Spiegel magazine reported that the Minister had also used a paragraph from the US Embassy website without crediting.

The university announced it would investigate the allegations.

Merkel's spokesman informed the Chancellor was interested in the case but would wait for a decision from university authorities before making any statements.

The BBC's Stephen Evans in Berlin says the Defense Minister is under strong political pressure - he has been criticized over a scandal on a military training ship which led to a mutiny. In addition, a German soldier shot in Afghanistan was initially said by the ministry to have shot himself, but turned out to have been shot by another soldier.

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Tags: Suddeutsche Zeitung, plagiarism, University of Bayreuth, PhD thesis, Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Germany, Merkel


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