Country Reports on Terrorism 2007 - Germany
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism|
|Publication Date||30 April 2008|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2007 - Germany, 30 April 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48196cae28.html [accessed 27 December 2014]|
Germany participated in counterterrorism military operations overseas, provided leadership in multilateral settings, and fought terrorism within its borders. Although no terrorist attacks took place in Germany, a major terrorist plot was disrupted on September 4. The three individuals arrested in the plot included two ethnic Germans and a Turkish citizen resident in Germany. The group had acquired large amounts of hydrogen peroxide for possible use in multiple car bomb attacks. German officials said that the suspects were connected to the designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, the Islamic Jihad Group (IJG).
Concerned about the threat from radicalization, the government reached out to at-risk communities, in particular youth, through programs designed to foster integration, including German language classes, after school sports, etc. The government also made efforts to work with Muslim organizations to encourage and motivate opinion leaders within the Muslim community to counter extremist messages. The Ministry of Interior continued the Islam Conference that it began in 2006. The conference is made up of several working groups that meet on a regular basis, one of which discussed issues related to radicalization.
Germany was the third largest troop contributor to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, with more than 3,000 troops deployed. Germany led the ISAF Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) in Kunduz and Feyzabad, provided a forward support base in Mazar-e-Sharif, and commanded ISAF's northern region, which encompassed nine provinces and five PRTs. Germany was the top European contributor to the EU police training mission in Afghanistan, EUPOL; and made available 100 Special Forces to operate in Afghanistan under Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The German Navy participated in OEF off the Horn of Africa and Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean Sea. Germany's contribution to these naval operations included fast patrol boats that sought to prevent the movement of terrorists and weapons of mass destruction.
Germany was especially active in multilateral fora to promote counterterrorism cooperation; Germany held the EU Presidency during the first half of the year and the G8 Presidency for all of 2007. In January, German Federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble pushed for EU-wide adoption of the main provisions of the Pruem Treaty, an agreement signed in 2005 by seven European states that provides for greater cross-border law enforcement and judicial cooperation. Germany also used its EU Presidency to establish the "Check the Web" initiative that allows EU member states to submit and retrieve information from a central Europol-managed facility on Internet sites used by terrorist and extremist groups for radicalization, recruitment, and training purposes. As EU President, Germany took the initiative to hold EU troika meetings with Pakistan and Indonesia to expand EU counterterrorism cooperation with these two nations.
During its G8 Presidency, Germany placed a particular emphasis on supporting UN counterterrorism activities and topics such as terrorist use of the Internet, protecting critical energy infrastructure, and countering radicalization and recruitment to terrorism. These priorities were reflected in the G8 Heiligendamm Summit Statement on Counterterrorism and the Report on the G8 Support to the UN Counterterrorism Efforts. Germany's chairmanship of the G8 Roma-Lyon Anti-Crime and Counterterrorism Subgroup saw a record number of project proposals being addressed and new initiatives being agreed upon to tackle issues such as bulk cash smuggling used to finance terrorism.
In September, Germany's Foreign Office co-organized an international seminar in Berlin with key negotiating parties to discuss outstanding issues related to the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and ways that the negotiations might be advanced. The Germans remained steadfast advocates of the UNSCR 1267 sanctions regime and played an active role in suggesting the development of mechanisms to ensure due process in the regime. The United States works actively and cooperatively with the Germans on UN Security Council 1267 Committee listing and de-listing issues.
The German government implemented legislation and established new facilities to strengthen its ability to fight terrorism. On January 11, an extension of the 2002 Terrorism Prevention Law came into effect which extended for another five years the counterterrorism provisions contained in the 2002 law. The legislation also better defined the role of intelligence services in counterterrorism activities and broadened and simplified the ability of German security agencies to obtain travel, financial, and telephone data. In January, a Joint Internet Center was established in Berlin to monitor Islamic terrorist and extremist websites that are used for radicalization, recruitment, and training purposes. The center was staffed by representatives from domestic and foreign intelligence offices, law enforcement agencies, and the office of the public prosecutor. On March 30, a unified terrorism database was established and came into operation which combines information on members and supporters of terrorist and violence-prone groups from nearly 40 federal and state law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
During the year, German law enforcement authorities arrested a number of individuals suspected of involvement in terrorism. Prominent new actions and arrests included:
- The September 4 arrests of three individuals suspected of planning large-scale terrorist attacks. The suspects are alleged to have attended terrorism training camps in Pakistan.
- The August 14 arrest of German-Turkish citizen Tolga Duerbin who was deported from Pakistan to Germany by Pakistani security forces following his arrest there. Duerbin is alleged to have attended a terrorist training camp in Pakistan. After nearly four months incarceration, Duerbin was released on December 10 following a plea agreement.
German courts began trials or reached verdicts in some notable counterterrorism cases:
- In December, the trial of Youssef Mohammad El-Hajdib began at the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court. Lebanese national El-Hajdib is charged with attempted murder and attempting to cause an explosion by placing bombs hidden in suitcases on commuter trains in Cologne in July 2006.
- On December 5, the Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court convicted Syrian national Ibrahim Mohamed Khalil and two Palestinian defendants (brothers Yasser Abu Shaweesh and Ismail Abu Shaweesh) of membership in and/or support of AQ, insurance fraud, and attempted procurement of enriched uranium for a "dirty bomb." The defendants received prison sentences of seven, six, and three and one half years, respectively.
- In September, the trial of Ibrahim Rashid started at the Celle Higher Regional Court. This was Germany's first trial in which the defendant's actions were carried out solely on the Internet. Rashid was charged with 28 counts of having promoted membership in, and support of, al-Qa'ida.
- The Bavarian Supreme Court sentenced two individuals to prison for supporting a foreign terrorist organization (Ansar al-Islam) and violating Germany's foreign trade law (for transferring money to Ansar al-Islam members in Iraq). Dieman Abdulkadir Izzat was sentenced on June 25 to three years and three months in prison and Farhad Kanabi Ahmad was sentenced on July 9 to five years and six months in prison. Izzat was also found guilty of fraud for having illegally obtained payments from the Nuremberg welfare office.
- In July, the trial of suspected AQ supporter Redouane El-Habhab began. El-Habhab, a dual German-Moroccan national, is accused of supporting al-Qa'ida, violating the German Foreign Trade Law, and assisting in the founding of a terrorist organization abroad.
- On January 8, the Hamburg Regional Court convicted Mounir el-Motassadeq of membership in a terrorist organization and of 246 counts of accessory to murder in connection with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The court sentenced Motassadeq to a 15-year prison sentence, which is the maximum sentence that can be imposed under the German Penal Code for this crime. Motassadeq's lawyers appealed the sentence, but on May 11, the German Federal High Court in Karlsruhe rejected the appeal.
- The trial of three Iraqi alleged members of Ansar al-Islam, Ata Abdoulaziz Rashid, Rafik Mohamad Yousef, and Mazen al-Hussein, continued. German prosecutors have charged the three, who have been in detention since December 2004, with a plot to assassinate former Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi during his visit to Berlin. Prosecutors also charged them with financial crimes and membership in, financing, and recruiting for a foreign terrorist organization. The trial started in 2006.
German – U.S. bilateral counterterrorism cooperation is strong. Germany participated in several USG programs to combat terrorism, including the Customs and Border Protection's Container Security Initiative in the ports of Hamburg and Bremerhaven. The Transportation Security Administration's presence in Frankfurt, together with U.S. and German air marshals, formed key parts of bilateral efforts to provide air transport security for the seven German airports with flights to the United States.