Thursday, July 28, 2005


German high court strikes down wiretap law

On July 19, in this post, I discussed the ruling by the German equivalent of our Supreme Court that struck down the use of the EU warrant in the extradition and prosecution of German citizens for crimes committed in other countries. Specifically, that case dealt wioth the court's ruling in a case that set free a suspected al Qaeda financier indicted by Spain.

Now comes more news from the German high court. The court has struck down a law enacted by the state of Lower Saxony, enacted after 9/11, which had expanded wiretap authority in terrorism investigations:

KARLSRUHE, GERMANY - In a setback for anti-terror investigators, Germany's high court Wednesday ruled that a state law giving authorities sweeping powers to tap phones is unconstitutional.

The Federal Constitutional Court said the law violates the Germany constitution's guarantees of freedom from official eavesdropping.

At issue was a 2003 law in the state of Lower Saxony enacted in the wake of the September 11 attacks. The attacks were plotted and carried out by Islamic terrorists based in Hamburg, adjacent to Lower Saxony.

The court, in rejecting the law, noted that the framers of Germany's post-war constitution specifically wanted to prevent a recurrence of Gestapo police-state surveillance.

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