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Germany

20 Suspects Released After Court Ruling

Twenty criminal suspects have been released from German jails this week since the country's top court ruled that the implementation of a new EU extradition order was unconstitutional, the federal crime office (BKA) said. All the suspects in question were wanted in European Union countries for serious crimes including murder and drug dealing, the BKA said. Their release was ordered after the federal constitutional court upheld the appeal of a suspected al Qaeda financier, Syrian-German businessman Mamoun Darkazanli, against his extradition to Spain. The tribunal concurred with Darkazanli's argument that handing him over to Spanish authorities -- as permitted by the new EU policy -- would violate Germany's basic law. European officials said the court's refusal to extradite Darkazanli was a blow to Europe's efforts to combat terrorism. But the German court said the EU warrant -- or specifically, the German law implementing it -- does not adequately protect its nationals from capricious prosecution in other countries. The BKA said that Darkazanli, who was freed from a jail in the nothern port city of Hamburg hours after the ruling Monday, was the only terror suspect released under the ruling this week.

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