A German administrative court has given the country’s domestic intelligence agency the green light to actively spy on the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has 81 seats in the nation’s Bundestag, after the agency labelled the party a “suspicious entity.”
The German Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), the country’s domestic intelligence agency, will now be able to actively spy on the AfD after a court in Cologne shot down a legal challenge by the party against the classification of extremism by the BfV.
The administrative court is said to have dismissed claims by the AfD that the BfV evaluation was akin to banning the party, and rejected the fact sections of the party such as the Flügel (wing), a socially conservative faction including firebrand Björn Höcke, had been disbanded, broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports.
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According to the broadcaster, the judges in the case found that despite the disbanding of the Flügel group, the members were still within the party and played active roles and claimed the party’s youth organisation was also inspired by “xenophobic concepts.”
“The party stands for racism, the party stands for exclusion of minorities, the party stands for contempt of the social system,” BfV President Thomas Haldenwang said after the verdict, claiming it had been a “good day for democracy.”
The BfV will now have the ability to actively spy on members of the party, wiretap their communications as well as plant informants within the party.
The case is the first time in Germany since the Second World War a party with representation in all of the regional parliaments, the German federal parliament and the European Union parliament has been under the surveillance of the state intelligence agency.
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Hans Pfeifer, a correspondent for Deutsche Welle, also claimed that AfD members in public sector jobs such as law enforcement, teaching and the judiciary, could now also face possibly being sacked for being members of the party.
Tino Chrupalla, the chairman of the AfD, released a statement following the court ruling saying, “We were surprised by the verdict on the classification as a suspected case. We do not share the opinion of the Cologne Administrative Court.”
“We had hoped for a different result; after all, we were able to prevail with two motions. We will now wait for the written reasons for the judgment and examine it carefully and then decide whether we will file further appeals,” he added.
The BfV has sought to put the AfD under surveillance since at least 2019 when the agency first listed the youth wing of the party, the Junge Alternativ (JA), and Thuringian party leader Björn Höcke as “suspicious”.
The case also comes just a month after it was revealed that the current German Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, a member of the left-wing social democrats, wrote for a far-left extremist Antifa publication linked to a group labelled extremist by the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
Bund der Antifaschistinnen und Antifaschisten (VVN-BdA), the group that publishes the magazine in which Ms Faeser’s writing appeared, had been listed as an extremist group for several years.
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