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AfD Lawsuits Against Office for the Protection of the Constitution Hearing in Münster Interrupted Indefinitely

The hearing of the AfD’s lawsuits against its observation by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution before the Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia in Münster was interrupted for an indefinite period of time on Wednesday evening. In view of the large number of evidence and requests for bias, the two scheduled trial days were not enough. It is uncertain when the proceedings will continue. The court announced that it would set further dates.

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The AfD had previously expressed doubts on Wednesday as to whether the information from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) on the use of so-called trusted persons in the party and its committees was correct. AfD lawyer Christian Conrad described a corresponding announcement as a “falsehood” and referred to the contents of trial files that proved this.

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution defends the use of informants

The BfV explained in court on Tuesday that of the several thousand pieces of evidence cited for classifying the AfD as allegedly unconstitutional, only two came from “human sources” from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, i.e. from undercover agents. It remained unclear whether this was one and the same person.

If the information is correct, the responsible authorities would probably act more cautiously. When monitoring the AfD, the federal and state constitutional protection offices are faced with a dilemma: if they work with the use of informants, they may be able to gain more information about unconstitutional efforts.

But if the party is to be banned at some point, the sources would have to be switched off immediately. This is what the Federal Constitutional Court demands. A party can only be broken up if it operates “state-free”, i.e. without control from state sources.

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In Münster it concerns a total of three lawsuits by the AfD against its classification as a so-called suspected case as well as the classification of the AfD youth organization Junge Alternative (JA) and the disbanded AfD “wing” as “certain extremist”. The Cologne administrative court, which is responsible because the BfV is based in Cologne, mostly dismissed the lawsuits in 2022.

Such information will not be kept on file and will not be taken into account.

Thilo Korte, First director at the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, on the AfD’s accusation that the office is spying on its litigation strategy

As on the previous day, the AfD representatives submitted a large number of applications on Wednesday, for which they cited what they considered to be insufficient factual information to date. They also wanted to know details from the BfV about the “human sources” used, but the office rejected this due to the need to protect the information. BfV lawyer Wolfgang Roth emphasized that the rules for their use had been adhered to. Everything else is claims “in the dark”.

The two AfD lawyers, Michael Fengler (l.) and Christian Conrad.

© dpa/Guido Kirchner

In addition, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution countered the AfD’s assumptions that they were spying on the party’s litigation strategy. Thilo Korte, First Director at the Federal Office, assured that such information, should it reach the authority, would not be kept on file. The AfD had previously referred to a police search of its federal office in 2022, during which correspondence with lawyer Conrad was also confiscated.

The AfD devalues ​​migrants, says the Office for the Protection of the Constitution

On Wednesday afternoon in Münster we got to the heart of the allegations. The BfV accuses the AfD of separating the people and the people of the state and devaluing migrants who are legally part of the people of the state, but not part of an “ethnocultural unit” like the AfD wants to promote. At all levels of the party there are statements about a “national death” or the “destruction of the German people,” emphasized BfV lawyer Wolfgang Roth. Migrants are described, among other things, as “criminals” or “welfare fraudsters”.

There are people who talk bullshit. We try to remove anyone who goes too far.

Roman Reusch, AfD politician, about xenophobic speeches from his party.

Former Bundestag member and member of the Federal Executive Board Roman Reusch contradicted the AfD: “We are not racists,” said Reusch. “I can assure you that we do not have this popular concept.” The AfD therefore brought witnesses with a migration background to the trial who could report on how people like them were treated.

A son of immigrants explains that he feels welcome in the AfD

Among others, the AfD politician Meysam Ehtemai, who ran for mayor in Hanau, told the court about his experiences in the party. He is a “German citizen of Persian descent” and came to Germany with his parents in 1995. Ehtemai’s father was a political refugee. “We owe everything we have achieved to Germany and the German citizens.”

Ehtemai used to be in the SPD for a long time, but since this party had “no other issue than fighting the AfD,” he got involved with the AfD and joined in 2019. In the new party he celebrated successes on different levels, suffered defeats and made friends. Of course there are also opponents, but he would still like to “contradict the statements” that the AfD is an anti-migrant party.

With regard to the xenophobic speeches by AfD members and AfD politicians, which are often quoted in the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Roman Reusch said: “There are people who talk nonsense. We’ll try to remove anyone who goes too far.” His party’s political goal is simply to reintroduce the naturalization law that was in effect until 1999.

An AfD “test case” was announced prematurely

The BfV initially got off to an unfortunate start with its observation of the AfD. Despite legal concerns from his own authority, BfV President Thomas Haldenwang had pushed for the AfD to be publicly declared a “test case” by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Because there was no legal basis for this, the party immediately defended itself in court – successfully.

The judges accused the BfV of having impaired the AfD’s constitutionally protected party freedom and its general personal rights. The statement was an “indirectly burdensome negative sanction” that could deter voters.

In the appeal process in Münster, AfD representative Conrad is now calling for the party to be generally exempted from observation by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, as there is also no sufficient legal basis for this in the relevant law.

However, it is unlikely that the Higher Administrative Court will agree with this. The judges remanded to a judgment of the Federal Administrative Courtaccording to which “administrative intervention against the existence of a political party” is reserved for party ban proceedings and “no legal sanctions may be threatened or imposed”.

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However, the observation by an Office for the Protection of the Constitution is not such a measure, but rather serves to clarify the suspicion that the party is pursuing anti-constitutional goals. “Even without a determination that it is unconstitutional, the conviction can be gained and represented that a party is pursuing unconstitutional goals.”

2024-03-13 22:03:19
#AfD #trial #Office #Protection #Constitution #antimigrant

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