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Germany

German Police Officers Accused of Taking Side Jobs in Libya

Several German police officers and a soldier have allegedly trained Libyan anti-terrorism units for hefty sums. Their failure to get permission for the side job is the least of their concerns at the moment.

Members of a special forces police unit in riot gear aim their guns at a target

Some officers allegedly received up to 15,000 euros ($23,400) for the training

German officials have kept quiet in the past when retired special forces members have gone abroad to earn some extra income by passing on their expertise.

But the current case, involving at least eight police officers and one German soldier, did lead them to start an investigation.

According to a news report in German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the accused went to Libya in 2006 for a private security firm founded by a former member of the special forces unit GSG-9 of Germany's federal police. Some of them allegedly received up to 15,000 euros ($23,400) for their services in the North African country.

Apart from not receiving permission from their superiors for moonlighting, the officers now face charges of violating official secrets laws.

Violating state secrets

Ingo Wolf

Wolf has asked state prosecutors to investigate the case

"The police officers' behavior is unacceptable," said Ingo Wolf, the interior minister of the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the officers are based.

A spokesman for the German Defense Ministry also confirmed that one soldier was under investigation. The federal Interior Ministry meanwhile said it was not aware of any members of the federal police involved in training programs in Libya.

"Awful" allegations

Gadhafi in front of a painting of angels

Despite improvements, Gadhafi's still no angel

Human rights activists meanwhile said it would be awful if it turned out that the allegations turned out to be true.

"Libya is far from being a constitutional state," Anita Hoch, a Libya expert with the German chapter of Amnesty International (ai), told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

While Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi renounced terrorism a few years ago and has been bringing his country back into the international community, human rights are still being violated, according to ai's latest report.

The organization says that at least 12 demonstrators were killed by police last year and that an inmate was killed by police during a prison revolt.

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