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Berlin

AfD sues German domestic spy agency over tracking

The AfD intends to take legal action against the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the domestic spy agency.

Published: January 10, 2020, 7:31 am

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    With the two lawsuits, the party wants the authority to neither track the right-wing of the party nor the youth organization Junge Alternative (JA) as suspected cases.

    The AfD defended itself against the classifications in two 47-page briefs, which have been drafted by Berlin weekly Junge Freiheit and are to be approved by the Federal Executive on Friday this week.

    It will then submitted to the Cologne Administrative Court on Monday. The Süddeutsche Zeitung had first reported on the lawsuit on Tuesday evening.

    According to the will of the AfD, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution should be prohibited from calling the youth wing JA a “suspected case” in future. In addition, the court should declare that the public classification of the JA as a suspected case by the Federal Office in mid-January 2019 was illegal.

    According to the lawyers of the AfD, there are no actual indications that justify classifying the JA as a suspected case. And this particular lack of evidence is a mandatory requirement according to current case law. Such proceedings require more than mere guesswork.

    Even before it was classified as a suspected case, the JA had initiated various measures to counter the corresponding treatment by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. For example, the Lower Saxony State Association was dissolved. In addition, the AfD refered to its federal statute, according to which no member of an extremist organization can become a party member.

    Already in February last year, the AfD filed a lawsuit against the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), with which it wanted to prohibit the authority from continuing to publicly call the party a “test case”. Shortly afterwards, the administrative court in Cologne issued a corresponding interim order.

    With regard to the classification of the so-called right-wing within the party as a suspected case, the AfD argued that this is an organizationally undefined group within the party. “The ‘wing’ is not an association or an officially recognized sub-organization of the applicant. Rather, the ‘wing’ is not an organization at all, but at most a vague collective name for individual, changing, and non-defined members of the applicant of an unknown number and identity”.

    While the AfD does not even know who belongs to the “wing”, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution believes it has more information about this. However, it does not work with reliable facts, but with mere assumptions.

    The consequences of this tracking has been serious for the party. Because of the classification as a suspected case, the Constitutional Protection may monitor the wing and its members with intelligence services. But since it is not clear who exactly is a member of the wing and who is not, this measure now threatens all party members.

    In addition, the public announcement of the classification of the wing as a suspected case not only has a negative impact on the reputation of the AfD, but also diminishes its attractiveness to voters.

    Therefore, this measure of the domestic spy service intervenes in the democratic decision-making process, as there were no actual indications for the suspicion that the wing was an “extremist endeavor” in any sense.

    “Even radical political views of whatever direction must have their legitimate place in a pluralistic social order,” the AfD’s draft lawsuit highlighted. “Even those who want to achieve their radical goals do not have to fear that they will be monitored by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution – as long as they recognize the basic principles of the constitutional order.”

    The limit of what is constitutionally permissible is only exceeded when a radical idea changes into a political endeavor that crosses the border to extremism. “This is the case if the democratic constitutional state and its fundamental set of values ​​are rejected.” And this is precisely not the case with the party.

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