• Germany edition
 
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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
German of the Week
'Now I can grow cannabis at home'
Günter Weiglein. Photo: DPA

'Now I can grow cannabis at home'

Günter Weiglein is one of three men in Germany who is allowed to grow his own cannabis thanks to a court ruling last week. But he tells The Local he’s not celebrating just yet. READ  

Germany tops penis enlargement table
Do your wurst, doc. Photo: DPA

Germany tops penis enlargement table

Germany is the world’s leader in penis enlargements, with five times as many people in the country undergoing the procedure than anywhere else in the world. Globally, Germany carries out the fourth highest amount of cosmetic surgery operations. READ  

The Local List
The best words in Austrian German
Which one is the Austrian word for tomato? Photo: APA/dpa

The best words in Austrian German

If you’ve lived in Germany, or you learnt Hochdeutsch at school, you may be surprised by some of the language differences between Austria and parts of Germany. READ  

Turks in Germany vote for first time
Voters at Berlin's Olympic Stadium on Thursday. Photo: DPA

Turks in Germany vote for first time

Germany’s large Turkish community headed to polling stations on Thursday to vote for the first time in a Turkish election. The Local visits Berlin’s Olympic Stadium which has been turned into a giant voting booth. READ  

Ice Age lion gets its head back
The lion with the missing half of its head. Photo: Hilde Jensen, Universität Tübingen.

Ice Age lion gets its head back

A 40,000-year-old figurine of a lion has been reunited with its head, more than 80 years after it was first found in a cave in southern Germany, following an extraordinary discovery. READ  

German jobless rate rises in July
Photo: DPA

German jobless rate rises in July

Unemployment in Germany rose in July to 6.6 percent, the Federal Employment Agency said on Thursday, blaming the increase on "seasonal reasons". READ  

Your lottery numbers are 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13
The winning numbers in Wednesday night's lotto. Photo: DPA/Lotto

Your lottery numbers are 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13

Three lucky Germans will take home a six-figure prize after an extremely rare lottery draw. The lucky numbers on Wednesday night were 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 37. READ  

Germany denies 'land for gas' deal with Putin
Merkel with Poroshenko and Putin in June. Photo: DPA

Germany denies 'land for gas' deal with Putin

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin have been working on a secret peace plan for Ukraine, The Independent newspaper reported on Thursday. The report was later denied by the German government. READ  

Space ship brings special cargo for astronaut
A cargo compartment on the ATV. Photo: ESA

Space ship brings special cargo for astronaut

The last European space freighter blasted off to the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday, carrying a special treat for the station’s German astronaut. The launch of the German-built supply ship marks the end of an era. READ  

World Cup victory makes Germans thirsty
Beer sales abroad and during the World Cup were behind the rise. Photo: DPA

World Cup victory makes Germans thirsty

Germany’s World Cup victory was also good news for the country’s brewers who saw a welcome reversal in the long-term trend of draining beer sales. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Five reasons to visit Oktoberfest (and five not to)
Photo: DPA
Society
Huge Bavarian crop circle puzzles crowds
Photo: DPA
Analysis & Opinion
Have Your Say: Should Germany legalize cannabis?
Photo: DPA
Education
Germany's students fail to graduate in time
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Hamburg harbour lit up in blue
Business & Money
JobTalk: 'Application process is failing'
Photo: Bundesarchiv/Bild 183-S45825
Culture
Germany puts 700,000 WWI docs online
Photo: DPA
Society
This man wants to give all of us €12,000 a year
Photo: DPA
Education
Top university switches master's courses to English
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The Local List: 12 best words in German
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
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

3,240
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd