Processes: Verdict: AfD rightly suspected of being right-wing extremists

Processes: Verdict: AfD rightly suspected of being right-wing extremists

The AfD has been resisting surveillance by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution for years. She now suffers another defeat in court. But the last word has not yet been spoken.

According to a ruling by the North Rhine-Westphalia Higher Administrative Court, the classification of the AfD as a suspected right-wing extremist case by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) is legal. This means that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution can continue to use intelligence resources to monitor the party.

The court in Münster confirmed a judgment from the lower court. The verdict is not yet legally binding. The OVG did not allow an appeal. However, the AfD can lodge a complaint with the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig (case numbers: 5 A 1216/22, 5 A 1217/22 and 5 A 1218/22).

There is “sufficient factual evidence” of the AfD’s efforts “that are directed against the human dignity of certain groups of people and against the principle of democracy,” said Gerald Buck, presiding judge of the 5th Senate. The AfD “uses derogatory terms towards refugees and Muslims on a large scale.” According to the Basic Law, such a devaluation is “inadmissible discrimination”. There is therefore nothing wrong with the actions of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

“Defensive democracy not a toothless tiger”

The powers of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution to monitor the AfD are “by no means limitless,” emphasized Buck. Especially when observing a particularly protected political party, the person must be able to provide “sufficiently conclusive circumstances” that a group may be working against the free basic order.

“The defensive democracy is not a toothless tiger. It should be attentive and assertive,” emphasized the chairman. “But she only bites when necessary and doesn’t allow herself to be provoked too quickly.” When classifying the AfD as a suspected extremist case, the judges found that the Federal Office was able to provide sufficient evidence for its assessment. That is why the authority was also allowed to inform the public about its assessment of the AfD.

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) welcomed the judges’ decision. “Today’s verdict shows that we are a robust democracy.” The German constitutional state has instruments to protect democracy from threats from within. “Exactly these instruments are also used – and have now been confirmed again by an independent court.”

AfD representatives criticize the court

AfD deputy spokesman Peter Boehringer and Roman Reusch from the federal executive committee expressed criticism of the OVG after the verdict. The 5th Senate did not do enough to clarify the points raised by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The Federal Office only got away with it because “the court refused to take evidence,” said Reusch.

After the North Rhine-Westphalia Higher Administrative Court’s ruling classifying the party as a suspected right-wing extremist case, AfD leaders Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla criticized the proceedings as politically motivated and questioned the court’s independence.

The timing of the proceedings and the announcement of the verdict must be taken into account, AfD leader Tino Chrupalla told journalists in Berlin on Monday. “We are in the middle of the European election campaign, which also shows that there is a political motivation behind it, quite clearly.” When asked by a journalist whether the court in Münster acted politically independently, Chrupalla said, “if, of course, applications for evidence are simply brushed off the table, there may well be doubts.”

Weidel said that a series of formal errors had been seen in Münster and criticized the court’s rejection of hundreds of applications for evidence from the AfD. “And accordingly the verdict is not acceptable to us and we will think very carefully about the next steps, but we will probably see each other again in Leipzig.”

Weidel repeated her accusation that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is not an independent authority. “Here, an authority is being abused to intervene in party competition and to structurally disadvantage the AfD. This is itself unconstitutional and violates our Basic Law.” Chrupalla said that there was nothing programmatically to be found in the AfD that was unconstitutional. Individual opinions could not be attributed entirely to the party.

Auschwitz Committee: Trip with AfD ends in conspiracy world

The vice president of the International Auschwitz Committee, Christoph Heubner, spoke of an important signal. “The judges have once again held up a mirror to the AfD and made it clear to the public once again in which right-wing extremist world of exclusion, brutalization and conspiracy the journey with the AfD will end,” he said. The Left reiterated its call for the AfD to be banned. “Such a motion is the self-defense of democracy against its enemies,” said domestic politician Martina Renner to the T-Online news portal.

Haldenwang feels encouraged by the course

After the verdict was announced, BfV President Thomas Haldenwang said: “In a robust democracy, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution has an important early warning function regarding the development of efforts against the free democratic basic order. We will continue to fulfill this task in the future.”

Haldenwang sees his course strengthened by the dismissal of the appeal. “The BfV won today (…) across the board,” said Haldenwang in Cologne. His thanks go to all employees, especially those “who, because of this important work, have repeatedly been subjected to hate and hatred from certain circles in public and on social media in recent months, who have been accused of unconstitutional and illegal behavior and who have received intolerable insults had to endure”. They could all feel vindicated by the verdict.

Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) warned against hasty conclusions after the OVG ruling. “Today’s decision does not automatically pave the way to a ban on the AfD. Such a procedure should only be initiated if you can be very sure that it would be successful. The most important and convincing thing will be if we as democrats succeed “To fight right-wing populist parties politically and to expose them with arguments,” Buschmann told the Funke media group.

Judges confirmed observation of JA and “Wings”

In the case of the AfD “wing”, which has now been dissolved, the judges had no objections to the upgrading to “proven extremist endeavors” by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The Senate decided that the assessment that the wing was directed against protecting the human dignity of Germans with a migration background and people of Islamic faith was justified.

In the case of the AfD youth organization Junge Alternative (JA), the trial initially only concerned the earlier classification as a suspected case – the judges had no objections to this. In the meantime, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has also upgraded the Young Alternative to a proven extremist effort – which the AfD and JA are defending themselves against in an urgent procedure that is still ongoing.

AfD observation possible through surveillance and informants

After the verdict, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution can continue to monitor the party using intelligence means. This includes, among other things, observation and obtaining information about informants (informants) from the respective scene. In a response to a corresponding parliamentary question from the AfD parliamentary group, the federal government left it open whether and to what extent the Federal Office had already made use of these options. The BfV’s step-by-step model first provides for the test case, then the suspected case and then the determination that the object being observed is a confirmed extremist effort. The AfD state associations in Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt are classified as definitely right-wing extremist by the state offices for the protection of the constitution there.

Source: Stern

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