25th Oct 2016

Germany proposes new anti-terror laws

  • Germany's interior minister (r) wants the new proposals rapidly implemented (Photo: Wiesbaden112.de)

Germany is toughening up security laws, in a broader effort to crack down on terrorism, following a recent spate of deadly attacks.

On Thursday (11 August), Germany's interior minister Thomas de Maiziere unveiled a raft of anti-terror proposals.

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“I am convinced that these proposals will increase security quickly," he told reporters in Berlin.

The new measures include stripping German citizenship from dual-nationals caught fighting alongside extremist militant groups abroad.

Any plan to strip citizenship is likely to meet opposition from the centre-left social democrats (SPD) and the Greens, German media report .

De Maiziere also aims at adding more police and surveillance staff, criminalising the promotion of terrorism, and making it easier to deport migrants who commit crimes.

However, earlier ideas to slap a ban on full-face veil burqas have been shelved.

Instead, authorities will be granted access to search the social media accounts of refugees if they carry no passports or other identity cards.

De Maiziere said people seeking international protection often have no ID papers, but most often carry smartphones. The devices are crucial to refugees.

But de Maiziere said they also contain information that could reveal possible security threats.

“If you want to come to Germany, we have to make safety checks on you. And to make safety checks, we will ask you to show us your Facebook contacts from the last few months, which are public in principle anyway,” said de Maiziere.

Similar mobile device schemes are already up and running in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands, reports the Guardian newspaper.

He also announced plans to ease doctor patient confidentiality, a move that drew sharp rebuke from the German Medical Association.

Meanwhile, any migrant seen as "endangering public safety" can now be kicked out of the country.

"In this way, we will in future increasingly use the instrument of deportation for foreign criminals and people likely to pose a threat," de Maiziere is quoted as saying in Deutsche Welle.

The proposals, set to become law before the end of the year, comes in the wake of a knife attack in Wuerzburg and a suicide bombing in Ansbach last month. Both were claimed by the Islamic State.

A German-Iranian in Munich had also gone on a shooting rampage and a Syrian asylum seeker had stabbed to death a Polish woman in Reutlingen. Neither incident was linked to Islamic State but have instead spooked a Germany that last year granted asylum to over one million people.

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