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Experts deny reported spike in police phone surveillance

Legal experts denied on Thursday reports that said telephone surveillance has increased disproportionately in Germany.

Experts deny reported spike in police phone surveillance
Photo: DPA

In reality, the number of telephone surveillance cases is going down, director of the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Hans-Jörg Albrecht, told daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

“Mobile telephones have spread like an explosion in Germany over recent years,” Albrecht said. “The number of telephones has grown significantly stronger than the amount of surveillance.“

On Wednesday, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung cited statistics from the Federal Justice Office that said the number of cases of telephone or computer surveillance rose by 11 percent in 2008. The report alarmed data protection groups and opposition politicians, who warned of a police state.

Meanwhile police unions rejected the criticism, referring to the Justice Ministry’s report that there are six million criminal proceedings each year, making just a few thousand instances of telephone surveillance relatively low.

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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