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Germany

CSU calls for expansion of police powers after Berlin attack

After widely-condemned comments from the CSU leader linking refugees to the Berlin terror attack, Merkel's sister party has called for a massive expansion of police powers. 'Security for our freedom' is the message.

The "sister party" to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party has called for a significant expansion of powers for police and domestic intelligence agencies after the Berlin terrorist attack last week, newspaper "Süddeutsche Zeitung" reported on Monday evening.

Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU), which forms part of Merkel's increasingly fractious grand coalition alongside Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), released a draft resolution for a January conference that calls for increased expulsion of people perceived as security threats.

"Whoever threatens our state has forfeited their right of hospitality," the CSU document titled "Security for our freedom" stated.

Being regarded as a potential "public danger" should be grounds for arrest of those facing expulsion, the CSU draft resolution said, as reported by "Süddeutsche Zeitung".

The alleged attacker behind last week's terror attack in Berlin who killed 12 people could have fallen under that label.

Increased detention periods

A photo of Anis Amri (picture-alliance/Bundeskriminalamt)

Anis Amri was tracked by authorities for six months but was not deemed a threat

The explusion from Germany of Tunisian Anis Amri, who allegedly drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas market and was then shot dead days later in Milan, was apparently held up in administration.

He had been monitored by security agencies on suspicion of planning a violent terror attack but the six months' security operation concluded that he posed no danger to the state.

The CSU resolution said detention periods for those facing expulsion should be expanded from four days to four weeks, according to the newspaper report.

It said Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) should be allowed to track suspects as young as 14 years old and to counter radicalization attempts among young people.

Calls for more CCTV

CCTV cameras above a barbed wire fence (Colourbox)

The CSU said left-wing parties should stop opposition the roll-out of CCTV on privacy grounds

The reported draft called for a wide roll-out of closed circuit television cameras in public spaces in Germany and attacked the SPD and opposition parties, the Greens and the Left, for their arguments against CCTV which were based on issues such as privacy.

The reliance by investigators on "randomly filmed private videos [were not enough]," the document stated, referring to authorities using amateur footage in their investigation of the Berlin attack.

Sentenced extremists should also be monitored more extensively using electronic ankle monitors, it said.

Widen data collection

The CSU key aims were: more staff and better equipment for security authorities; additional powers for law enforcement; better data exchange between European Union member states and an expansion of data monitoring on e-mails and communications services such as WhatsApp and Skype.

The document claimed that some mosques "play a prominent role" in the radicalization of Islamists, and called for "more transparency with regard to preachers" and "disclosure of their financial sources".

SPD politician Malu Dreyer, state premier of Rhineland-Palatinate and current President of the Upper House of Parliament, the Bundesrat, warned that the document was populist and could stir division. A sensitive approach was more appropriate for Germany, she told newspaper "Tagesspiegel".

Dreyer said the CSU should sort out its problems with Merkel's policy behind closed doors and "spare the public" from the drama.

In recent weeks the CSU has put increased pressure on its sister party to strengthen controls on refugees.

Earlier in December it released a manifesto adopting a notably more conservative stand ahead of next year's general election.

aw/jm (dpa, AFP)

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