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Suspected Terrorists Will Face Quicker Deportation in Germany

A proposal by Interior Minister Otto Schily that would allow the government to kick suspected terrorists out of the country much quicker has won support across Germany's political spectrum.

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Germany's politicians want to be able to crack down harder on suspected terrorists.

In the weeks since the terrorist attacks in Madrid, Germany's politicians have been scrambling over themselves to come up with tougher anti-terrorism measures.

Calls to change the constitution to allow the Bundeswehr to be deployed in the name of domestic security, or set up a department of "homeland security" like in America, are most likely set to fade away.

But a proposal by Interior Minister Otto Schily to streamline the way in which Germany deports suspected terrorists has won support from across the political spectrum. The policy, agreed upon by the left-of-center governing coalition on Friday, would give Schily the decision to kick out suspected terrorists based on evidence brought against them and the level of threat to German security.


"If the police and intelligence services have knowledge that a person is a potential danger to our country, then we need to be able to deport him," Schily said in an interview with the Berliner Zeitung.

Until now, German states have been responsible for determing who stays and who goes. Under the new plan, the Federal Administrative Court would decide on deportation in cases of national security, according to government politicians, and the cases would not go before regional and administrative courts.

Opposition showing signs of support

The Social Democratic-Green Party government coalition plans to introduce their proposal during bipartisan discussions on the country's new immigration law next Thursday.

Based on the statements of opposition politicians so far, they can expect a good reaction. Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union leaders have praised Schily's plan as a step in the right direction.

But some, like Bavaria's hardline interior minister Gunther Beckstein, want tougher measures. Not just the Federal Interior Minister, but state ministers should be able to decide on whether or not to deport someone, said Beckstein.

Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution estimates that there are round 30,000 Islamic extremists within the country, 4,000 of them are considered very dangerous. Beckstein says the country needs to do more to fight this threat.

"In all, we're taking this on too lackadaisically," said Beckstein, who also demanded a federal registry of islamic radicals that law enforcement could turn to for help in investigations.

Schily: Europe should use computer profiling

Other European countries have followed Germany in re-evaluating anti-terrorism measures following the Madrid bombings that killed 190 and injured thousands on March 11. Last week, the European Union appointed an anti-terror czar charged with coordinating the work between law enforcement and intelligence agencies within Europe.

On Saturday, Schily called fellow EU member states to implement a computer profiling system designed to root out suspected fundamentalists. Germany re-introduced the system following the revelation that the Sept. 11 attacks were planned by Muslim students in Hamburg.

Critics say the system is not very effective in catching so-called "sleepers," fundamentalists who plot and plan below the radar of law enforcement.

"With this new form of terrorism ... it helps little, because we don't have enough details about the profiles of the people we're looking for," Volker Beck, the legal and immigration expert for the Green Party in Germany's parliament, told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

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  • Date 28.03.2004
  • Author DW staff (dre)
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  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/4q5p
  • Date 28.03.2004
  • Author DW staff (dre)
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/4q5p