• Germany's news in English
 

Germans want to interrogate Snowden

Published: 28 Oct 2013 14:59 GMT+01:00

As the Merkel phone gate affair continued to rock US-German relations, the two main parties agreed the spying accusations would be debated in a special sitting of parliament.

The debate, set for November 18th, will address the NSA's activities on German soil and the tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone.

Meanwhile, voices grew louder calling for an official parliamentary investigative committee to look into the spying accusations.

Some are even demanding Edward Snowden be coaxed out of hiding in Russia, where he has been granted asylum, to travel to Germany to act as the committee's star witness.

The fugitive whistleblower is a "highly credible" and "obviously valuable witness," for Germany, said Thomas Oppermann, (SPD) head of the parliamentary control committee - the body responsible for oversight of intelligence services.

And if Snowden were to abandon his hideout in Russia, added Oppermann, he could not see Germany handing him over to the USA to face trial.

Germany was unlikely, he said, to deliver "someone who had uncovered a serious act of spying against the Chancellor" over to the very country "which did this spying."

Germany should offer Snowden asylum, a growing number of politicians agree, including several from the SPD.

"The service Edward Snowden has done for the disclosure of the NSA spying methods are undeniable. Germany should, together with other European states, seriously look into whether it is possible to take Snowden in," Lars Klingbeil, SPD internet policy spokesman told Handelsblatt over the weekend.

The German government has so far denied it is seeking dialogue with Snowden, who's whereabouts in Russia are currently unknown, said Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert on Monday.

However, outgoing Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) has not ruled out calling on Snowden for further information in any investigation by Germany.

"If the accusations consolidate and lead to investigation, one could consider interviewing Mr Snowden as a witness," she told Zeit Online.

Meanwhile, the German Federal Public Prosecutor Harald Range has begun looking into whether the US broke the law by tapping Merkel's phone. There was not yet enough information to launch an official judicial enquiry into the spying claims, Range said.

However, he admitted it would be difficult to get Snowden into Germany.

"I can't just travel to Moscow and sit in the airport and wait until Mr Snowden shows up," he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday. "We just have to gather information, and that's what we're doing."

READ MORE: White House 'ended NSA Merkel phone tapping'

DPA/The Local/jlb

Follow us on Twitter @thelocalgermany

Like The Local Germany on Facebook

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday
Photo: DPA

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday

Teachers all over the country are expected to stike starting Monday, German education trade union GEW said, after negotiations with the wage commission of the federal states (TdL) failed to achieve results. READ  

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes
Andre Shepherd at the European Court of Justice in June 2014. Photo: DPA

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes

American soldier Andre Shepherd, who applied for asylum in Germany as a conscientious objector against the war in Iraq after going AWOL from his unit, saw a judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) go against him on Thursday. READ  

Intersex person sues clinic for unncessary op
Photo: DPA

Intersex person sues clinic for unncessary op

Intersex person Michaela Raab is suing doctors in a Nuremberg court, who she said operated on her genitals and put her through female hormone therapy without having told her she was genetically a man. READ  

Greece bailout
Greece bailout passes with massive majority
Wolfgang Schäuble addressing the Bundestag on Friday. Photo: DPA

Greece bailout passes with massive majority

UPDATE:German MPs voted 542-32 in favour of extending Greece's bailout programme on Friday. READ  

German soars into ski jump top spot
Photo: DPA

German soars into ski jump top spot

Germany is a "Weltmeister" again, this time in ski-jumping. Severin Freund's 134-metre vertical jumps, and new world distance record of nearly 136 metres, ended the nearly decade-and-a-half wait for German ski jump fans starved for gold. READ  

Muslim Council says Jewish fears 'justified'
Muslims at prayer in Frankfurt's Abubakr Mosque. Photo: DPA

Muslim Council says Jewish fears 'justified'

After the president of the Central Council of Jews warned against anti-Semitism in Muslim areas of German cities, his Muslim opposite number agreed that 'these fears are justified”. READ  

Consumer rights office slams Facebook
Photo: DPA

Consumer rights office slams Facebook

The Federation of Consumer Protection Offices (vzbv) has warned Facebook over legal breaches in its terms and conditions, saying that its claim on the homepage that “Facebook is free and always will be” is misleading. READ  

Spoof hails Varoufakis: puts 'hell' in 'Hellenica'
Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's "Minister of Awesome". Photo: DPA

Spoof hails Varoufakis: puts 'hell' in 'Hellenica'

An offering that rehabilitates the much-maligned German sense of humour is rocking the internet with a searing spoof metal tribute to Greece's formidable new finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, filled with painful moments of self-mockery. READ  

This Week in History
Kafka's Metamorphosis: 100 years of perplexity
Franz Kafka. Photo: DPA

Kafka's Metamorphosis: 100 years of perplexity

100 years ago, Franz Kafka published The Metamorphosis, now seen as one of the most significant works of 20th century German literature. The Local speaks to the academic who has reinterpreted it for a modern audience. READ  

Nurse jailed for life for serial patient murders
Niels H. in court. The five murder counts against the former nurse may just be the start. Photo: DPA

Nurse jailed for life for serial patient murders

A male nurse who injected patients with overdoses of heart medication for the thrill of resuscitating them was on Thursday sentenced to life imprisonment on five counts of murder. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
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

3,381
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd