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Germany

Germany Dismisses Visas for Terrorists

The German government dismissed a press report on Thursday which claimed it had granted visas to two Chechens suspected of involvement in the bloody hostage-taking at a Moscow theater in 2002. Mass-circulation Bild newspaper reported that a senior police official had admitted that the men, who are brothers, had been granted visas several times despite warnings from Russian authorities. But a spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry said all security precautions had been taken and that neither of the men had shown up in a database of terrorist suspects. There had been nothing on record to prevent the men from receiving visas, the spokeswoman said. The head of the police union, Konrad Freiberg, said this case showed that the immigration authorities had failed to heed security warnings. Germany's approach to issuing visas through its consulates is currently mired in controversy. A parliamentary committee began work last month to investigate whether the policy was too lax and could have encouraged people smuggling.

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