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Last Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008, 16:29 GMT
German offender sent to Siberia
Siberian village in winter (file pic)
Siberian villages are far removed from Western luxuries
German authorities have sent a violent 16-year-old youth to Siberia in the hope that a tough, strange environment will help improve his behaviour.

For nine months the boy is sharing a small house with a Russian-speaking guardian in the isolated village of Sedelnikovo, German media report.

The boy has to chop firewood, use an outdoor toilet and fetch water for washing, sometimes in freezing cold.

The boy, from the state of Hessen, is reported to have gone "willingly".

The head of youth and social affairs in the central German town of Giessen, Stefan Becker, said it was "not a punishment, but an educational measure".

He said the idea was to remove the boy "from the stimuli of consumer culture" in Germany.

"The conditions are like what we had here 30 or 40 years ago," he said.

The village lies north of the western Siberian city of Omsk.

The boy is already more than half-way through his nine-month stay, but news of his experience only surfaced this week.

The accommodation in Siberia is reported to be costing the state 150 euros (112; $220) daily - about one-third of the cost of a place in a German institution for juveniles.

According to a German organisation representing youth help groups, AGJ, some 600 German young offenders were sent abroad on special education programmes in 2006.

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