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Germany

Controversy Over Kohl's Stasi Files Continues

Files compiled by the former East German secret service (Stasi) on former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl could become public despite a recent court ruling imposing major restrictions on their publication, the head of the German agency in charge of the files said Tuesday. "Certain documents can be released without Kohl's consent," said Marianne Birthler, adding that her agency was preparing publication of the files. The court had ruled in June that Kohl's filed could not be released and that access to other filed for researchers and journalists had to be severely limited. Birthler said that in her opinion, the fight over the Kohl files arose because some hope to garner evidence about Kohl's role in a bribery scandal involving his Christian Democratic Union party. She said that such information could not be released anyway, as the files are only released to give people insight into the workings of the Stasi ministry. She added that most requests to see the files still come from private individuals who want to see any documents the Stasi collected about them.

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