Ger­man law­mak­ers urge tougher se­cu­rity mea­sures af­ter at­tack

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Politi­cians on both sides of Ger­many’s gov­ern­ing coali­tion, re­act­ing to last week’s Christ­mas mar­ket at­tack, called for more state pow­ers to de­port po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous failed asy­lum seek­ers, with some also push­ing for en­hanced sur­veil­lance. Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel, whose open-door mi­grant pol­icy crit­ics say has put Ger­many’s se­cu­rity at risk, promised af­ter the Ber­lin at­tack - which killed 12 peo­ple - to in­tro­duce new laws if needed.

The sus­pected per­pe­tra­tor, 24-year old Tu­nisian Anis Amri, was an asy­lum seeker who had es­caped de­por­ta­tion af­ter his ap­pli­ca­tion was re­jected. He was shot dead by Ital­ian po­lice yesterday. Merkel’s con­ser­va­tive al­lies in the state of Bavaria, the CSU, called for greater pow­ers for the po­lice and in­tel­li­gence agen­cies and im­proved data ex­change be­tween them. “We need new grounds to ar­rest dan­ger­ous peo­ple,” they said in a pa­per seen by Reuters en­ti­tled ‘Se­cu­rity for our Free­dom’, which they will dis­cuss at a party gath­er­ing early next month.

It says in­tel­li­gence agen­cies should be able to mon­i­tor in­di­vid­u­als as young as 14 to avoid rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion, and calls for greater pow­ers of de­ten­tion for peo­ple due to be de­ported. Some 550 peo­ple are reg­is­tered with Ger­man se­cu­rity ser­vices as po­ten­tially vi­o­lent. Polls in­di­cate that Ger­mans’ deeply en­trenched op­po­si­tion to state mon­i­tor­ing, a legacy of wide­spread sur­veil­lance in Com­mu­nist East Ger­many and in the Nazi era, may be wan­ing.

While sev­eral Greens politi­cians have ar­gued since the Ber­lin at­tack that more video sur­veil­lance of pub­lic places is not be the an­swer to Ger­many’s se­cu­rity prob­lems, a YouGov poll showed 60 per­cent of Ger­mans were in fa­vor. A deputy leader of the Social Democrats (SPD), the ju­nior partner in Merkel’s gov­ern­ing coali­tion and which is tra­di­tion­ally more ret­i­cent on se­cu­rity is­sues, also de­manded de­ten­tion be­fore de­por­ta­tion for some failed asy­lum seek­ers.

“We must make sure dan­ger­ous peo­ple have no op­por­tu­nity to dis­ap­pear,” Ralf Steg­ner told Die Welt daily. “Any­body who puts gen­eral se­cu­rity at risk must not be al­lowed to be at large.” Pres­sure is also mount­ing on Merkel to seal agree­ments with north­ern African coun­tries to send re­jected asy­lum seek­ers back - one of the ob­sta­cles to ex­pelling Amri to Tu­nisia, which re­fused to ac­cept him. How­ever Merkel, who plans to run for a fourth term in of­fice in fed­eral elec­tions next year, re­mains the best hope for the fu­ture for many vot­ers. An Em­nid poll showed that 56 per­cent of Ger­mans think she can solve ma­jor po­lit­i­cal prob­lems, a higher score than any other politi­cian. — Reuters

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