• Germany's news in English
 
Court allows surveillance of leftist politicians
Photo: DPA

Court allows surveillance of leftist politicians

Published: 21 Jul 2010 12:45 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Jul 2010 18:21 GMT+02:00

The decision overturns a ruling by a state court in North Rhine-Westphalia, which had said it was not appropriate for Germany's intelligence agency the Verfassungsschutz to be gathering a file on The Left's Thuringia state party leader Bodo Ramelow.

Domestic intelligence officials consider parts of The Left's agenda against Germany's constitution, and the ruling by the federal court in Leipzig is a major setback for the far-left party's efforts to stop the government surveillance of its members.

“I cannot accept that the intelligence service legitimises itself in this way,” Ramelow told daily Mitteldeutsche Zeitung ahead of the proceedings.

Ramelow said that all of The Left’s federal parliamentarians are under watch by the Verfassungsschutz, calling the situation “scandalous.”

But Hans-Peter Uhl, interior policy spokesperson for the conservative Christian Democrats’ parliamentary group, said the far-left party was a risk to the state – though he made a distinction between the party its and democratically elected parliamentarians.

“Basically The Left should be observed because there's a constant flow between the party and left-wing extremists and some violent groups,” he told the paper, adding that the intelligence service should exercise caution when it came to those who legitimately held an office.

“Those are freely elected parliamentarians,” he said. “There needs to be a demarcation here.”

Meanwhile Green party leader Cem Özdemir said he supported the case by The Left, encouraging an end to the surveillance.

“I find that equating the Left with the (neo-Nazi) NPD or other extremist parties is a mistake overall,” he told daily Berliner Zeitung.

The Left is not conspiratorial, he said, explaining that its members openly engage in their activities and should also be judged as such on the political stage.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

23:15 July 21, 2010 by claudegaveau
:-) Looks like my post got taken down and the grammar mistakes were corrected.
23:34 July 21, 2010 by mikecowler
This surveylance happens in the UK too. The National Front Party which is extreme right wing and has had known thugs, and some extreme left unions...any threat to national security must be taken seriously...
08:01 July 22, 2010 by JAMessersmith
People often think of the ideological spectrum as a straight line; as if the extreme-left is on one side and the extreme-right is on the other. But it is actually more of a circle, and all extremists, whether right or left, tend to share more similarities than dissimilarities. They may fight each other violently in the streets, but they often use the same tactics against each other. In my opinion, people who haven't been brainwashed by one side or the other can perceive this irony, and generally fall under the moderate category, distrusting of both.
10:57 July 22, 2010 by Prufrock2010
George Orwell is smiling in his grave.
Today's headlines
Germans hit back at anti-immigrant movement
Demonstrators protest against PEGIDA. Photo: DPA

Germans hit back at anti-immigrant movement

Business leaders, the political class and average Germans are pushing back against a growing anti-immigrant movement, saying it threatens the values and image the country fought hard to establish since the war. READ  

German president urges refugee compassion
Photo: DPA

German president urges refugee compassion

Germany's president appealed in a Christmas message for compassion and openness towards refugees coming to the country, which is grappling with a growing anti-Islam movement. READ  

Reward offered for €150k homing pigeon
A female homing pigeon. Photo: DPA

Reward offered for €150k homing pigeon

A breeder in Düsseldorf has offered a €10,000 reward after thieves stole a homing pigeon worth €150,000 from his aviary. READ  

Royal palace restored to glory after €4.5m refit
The vestibule of the Schloss Charlottenburg, which reopens on Boxing Day Photo: DPA

Royal palace restored to glory after €4.5m refit

The royal palace of Fredrick the Great in Berlin is to fully reopen to visitors on Boxing Day after a 4.5 million euro refit. READ  

Bertolt Brecht statue hit with potato salad
Bertolt Brecht and his salad. Photo: DPA

Bertolt Brecht statue hit with potato salad

Bertolt Brecht's statue in front of the Berliner Ensemble theatre was splattered with potato salad by pranksters early on Tuesday morning, in a protest against supposed gentrification of the capital by wealthy southerners. READ  

'Cursed' Christmas Market catches fire
The ferris wheel at Alexa Christmas Market where a man fell to his death last week Photo: DPA

'Cursed' Christmas Market catches fire

A blaze at one of Berlin's biggest Christmas markets has caused locals to wonder if the place is cursed. READ  

JobTalk Germany: Entrepreneur series
'Don’t be skimpy in rewarding top talent'
Taulia co-founder Bertram Meyer. Photo: DPA

'Don’t be skimpy in rewarding top talent'

In our weekly feature series, The Local looks into a successful entrepreneur's life - the story behind their successes, major challenges and how being an entrepreneur changed them forever. This week, Sparsh Sharma talks to Bertram Meyer, one of the four German co-founders of Taulia. READ  

Terror alert 'higher than in decades'
A police armed response unit (SEK) training in North Rhine-Westphalia in August. Photo: DPA

Terror alert 'higher than in decades'

A leaked government report shows that security authorities believe the threat of a terrorist attack in Germany is higher than at any time since the late 1970s. READ  

Wet, windy, stormy Christmas in store
Nobody's dreaming of a wet Christmas Photo: DPA

Wet, windy, stormy Christmas in store

Those hoping for a traditional white Christmas in Germany are going to be disappointed, with weathermen saying Tuesday the current wet, windy and stormy weather is set to stay. READ  

Merkel to have a chilly Ukraine Christmas
President Poroschenko of Ukraine greeting soldiers in a tank on December 6th. Photo: DPA

Merkel to have a chilly Ukraine Christmas

Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany agreed on new peace talks this week on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko announced on Monday evening. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,225
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd