How much security is right?

On 10 January, German Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière and Federal Minister of Justice Heiko Maas presented a set of measures for homeland security. These focus on the harsher treatment of “Gefährder”, people deemed to be a danger to the public, such as the perpetrator of the attack in Berlin, Anis Amri. The German security authorities list 548 people in this category. Half of them are not currently in Germany. 62 Islamist “Gefährder” are obliged to leave the country. Germany is discussing what the new proposals will change, and whether they go too far, or not far enough. 

Opinions on the topic:

More important measures

“The additional security these measures will bring should not be overestimated. Ultimately, deportation custody is fundamentally only possible in the case of people who are obliged to leave the country and this can be enforced. “Gefährder”, people deemed to be a danger to the public, with German citizenship or secure residence status are excepted. (…) As such, what is far more important are measures that cannot be implemented from one day to the next, in other words do promise a quick gain in prestige and – as opposed to what has now been decided – cost money: a well-staffed police force, effective cooperation between the security and other authorities, as well as between central government and the federal states, and not least of all the painstaking prevention of extremism”.
Katharina Schuler inDie Zeit

Confident state 

“Anyone wanting to draw conclusions for the future from the Amri case has no intention of questioning either federalism or human dignity. It goes without saying that deportation detention, deportation custody, mandatory residence obligation, electronic ankle bracelets and video surveillance are infringements of basic rights. (…)  nor does the public expect total security. It cannot expect it. What it can expect though is the Grand Coalition, as the Federal Minister of the Interior put it, to demonstrate in difficult times that is capable of achieving “sensible results”. Indeed: the state must now show itself to be confident, level-headed, and determined.

Alternative discussion 

“The fact that the electronic surveillance of “Gefährder” violates the principles of the rule of law is being criticised. However, in this case reference to the presumption of innocence is wrong, as this applies only with regard to criminal prosecution, not to averting danger. In a constitutional state it is the duty of the state to protect the lives of the population. As such the state cannot ignore it when small groups of Islamist fanatics evidently begin considering committing mass murder. Those who do not favour putting all “Gefährder” in preventive custody for an indefinite period must discuss alternatives. One of these is electronic surveillance by GPS transmitter.”

More intelligent ways 

“What should be done with criminals like fatally wounded Anis Amri, who even before the attack had broken all manner of German laws? They have to be put on trial here and punished, with all the power of the law. This could perhaps also be followed by a re-education program, in line with the cultural fight against Islamists called for by Sigmar Gabriel. There are any number of more intelligent ways of facing up to the dangers than those being pursued by this Federal government.”

Holger Schmale in Berliner Zeitung

Article source: