Undercover agents to get crime amnesty

Ministers are planning a new law which would provide amnesty for secret service agents who help informants commit crimes during undercover investigations.

Undercover agents to get crime amnesty
Hooded man photo: Shutterstock

Christian Democratic Union (CDU) foreign policy spokesman Philipp Mißfelder told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) that there was a "loophole" in the legal protections given to undercover agents.

They needed "the protection of the law, so that they won't be prosecuted for informants' crimes carried out to maintain their cover", he said.

The move follows a 2011 decision by a court in Düsseldorf, which found that there was no reason to stop the prosecution of a Federal Intelligence Agency (BND) informant from going ahead.

In such cases, the informant himself would be the main defendant and his secret service handler seen as an instigator.

Federal prosecutors released an opinion in April 2014 stating that there was insufficient legal protection for cases where informants were used.

Media reported at the time that the secret services were having trouble recruiting people to infiltrate terrorist cells.

Government sources told WAZ that a new law would be introduced sometime this year.

It is not yet known whether there will be a general amnesty or a list of what crimes informants are and are not allowed to commit in the line of duty.

Mißfelder also called for the secret services to be given more resources and authorization to spy on communications services including Skype and WhatsApp.


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.