Germany court allows surveillance of left-wing political party

(JURIST) A German federal court on Wednesday ruled the government’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (OPC) can keep tabs on members the socialist Left party using publicly available information. The decision overturns a ruling by a state court in North Rhine-Westphalia, which had said it was not appropriate for Germany’s intelligence agency to be gathering a file on The Left’s Thuringia state party leader Bodo Ramelow.

In its ruling the, court stated that the party has unconstitutional goals, which makes the government surveillance legitimate. The Left party has some historic ties to the former East German Communist party and has been linked to violent left-wing extremist groups. The suit challenging the surveillance was filed by Ramelow, who has indicated that he will appeal the court’s decision to the Constitutional Court.

The German government continues monitoring the rise of extremist groups and attempting to limit their influence within the country. Last November, the Constitutional Court upheld legislation prohibiting public support and justification of the Nazi regime. The ruling means that neo-Nazis are forbidden from assembling for the purposes of of approving, glorifying or justifying the Nazi regime.

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