This BBC article gives a good summary of the case, but to be even more brief: a small group of people lost money which they had invested, blamed their financial adviser, were unable to get it through the courts, so they kidnapped him and tried to force him to pay back the money which he had lost. They broke two of his ribs beating him up and had stuffed him in a crate on the way to the home in which they detained him. To me, this is a pretty severe crime.
Their best argument is that he stole it, but we have a legal system to deal with such situations; when people are unsatisfied with the result, they have no right to take justice in their own hands. They gambled their money, lost it and used violence to try and get it back.
The ringleader of the group, 74-year-old retired architect Roland Kaspar, was sentenced to six years in prison.
His accomplice, a 61-year-old businessman, was sentenced to four years. Two women, one of them Kaspar's 80-year-old wife, received suspended sentences
I am worried that the courts might have made the sentences shorter because of the age of the criminals and how "unfair" it might seem that they lost this money (they shouldn't have gambled what they were not ready to lose). I also have to wonder why the women received "suspended sentences". I have not clue how German law deals with kidnaps, but it's a very serious crime and for people who were involved in it to get "suspended sentences" (they won't go to jail unless they break the law again) and for the mastermind -- who used violence for his ends -- to get six years... it seems wrong.
Of course, it could be argued that prisons are meant to protect society from others and it would be a waste of resources to incarcerate such people. I certainly am not worried that they will commit such a crime again. So should these people go to jail at all? This is one important question. However, whether or not they do go to jail, I think that part of the punishment -- for everyone who was knowingly involved in this -- should include having all their money and assets be taken away from them. They can live off the state pension that Germany offers and which many people who have not committed such gross acts currently live on. This is less expensive than jail and I don't think that people who were ready to kidnap others for financial gain should be allowed to maintain whatever monetary resources they have; they have forfeited their rights to any of society's fruits. If they want their luxuries back, they can go back to work (when they get out of jail).