Three German Spies Agents Arrested in Kosovo, Reports Say | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 22.11.2008
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Three German Spies Agents Arrested in Kosovo, Reports Say

Three Germans arrested in Kosovo on this week are allegedly spies working for a German intelligence agency, German media reported Saturday, Nov. 22. Lawmakers are demanding details of the arrests.

Graphic of a man wearing fedora, in gloomy light

The alleged spies said they were inspecting the blast site and were not involved in the explosion

The three Germans were arrested Wednesday in Kosovo are agents for the Germany Federal Intelligence Agency (BND), Der Spiegel newsmagazine and the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Saturday.

The Germans were arrested by Kosovar police in connection with an attack on the European Union's headquarters in Pristina on Nov. 14. No one was hurt in the explosion and indications of the attack's background or possible motives remain unclear.

The suspects were in Kosovo "in a private capacity" and had no immunity from prosecution, police spokesman Veton Elshani told the German news agency dpa.

None of the German trio were "diplomats, police, soldiers or experts with international identification," Kosovar investigators said on Friday.

The alleged spies said they were simply inspecting damage done by the bomb's explosion and were not involved in the attack, according to the Spiegel report.

One of the men told Kosovar authorities he was working for the BND, the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Opposition wants details

Traffic in Pristina

Parliamentarians want to know exactly what the Germans were doing in Pristina

A German government spokesman declined to speculate about the possible involvement of Berlin's security services (BND) in the case on Friday and instead pointed to the ongoing investigations.

German politicians in the opposition have called for the government to inform a parliamentary oversight committee.

"The status has to be made clear," Max Stadler, the free-market liberal FDP's expert for interior affairs, told dpa on Saturday, adding that lawmakers needed to be informed regardless of whether there was sufficient material to charge the Germans.

Governments usually register their intelligence agents with foreign authorities to ensure they are covered by diplomatic immunity. Berlin failed to accredit the three agents, leaving their legal status in Kosovo unclear, according to Der Spiegel.

An EU mission is due to take over the oversight of law-enforcement in Kosovo after more than eight years of a United Nations protectorate.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February. Pristina, Belgrade, the UN and EU are currently wrangling over the conditions for the deployment of the EU mission, the Eulex, comprising 2,000 police, judicial and customs officials.

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