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Germany planning to make stay in terror camps a crime

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Germany planning to make stay in terror camps a crime
Photo: DPA
11:50 CEST+02:00
German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told the Wednesday edition of the Münchner Merkur that the government will soon make a stay in terrorist training camps a punishable offence.

“We can't simply wait until the crime has been committed,” he said, adding he expected contentious draft legislation to be passed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet in the coming weeks.

Merkel's grand coalition of conservative Christian Democrats and centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) has wrestled with the new measures for months. The SPD controlled Justice Ministry has fought with conservative Schäuble over whether visiting a terrorist training camp is reason enough to arrest someone or if there must be proof someone is planning a terrorist attack.

But Schäuble told the paper he assumed under the new legislation the authorities could take action “as soon as someone is preparing themselves to carry out an attack. It isn't necessary to be planning a specific attack.”

German officials were embarrassed this week after they were forced to release two men of Somali descent following their arrest in a KLM airliner at the Cologne-Bonn airport last month. Abdirazak B. (23) and Omar Ahmet D. (24), were thought to have been plotting imminent acts of terrorism, but they were set free on Tuesday due to lack of evidence.

The men had been under police surveillance for some time and police said at the time they had found two suicide notes that mentioned “holy war” in one of their apartments as well as suspicious text messages.

But over the weekend it became clear that evidence against the suspects was thin. A suicide note was found to be a love letter, and searches found no weapons, ammunition or other dangerous objects in their homes.

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