Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003 - Germany

Germany is an active and critically important participant in the global Coalition against terrorism. The country's efforts have made a valuable contribution to fighting terrorists inside and outside of German territory.

Several German citizens were killed in terrorist attacks in 2002. In April, 14 German tourists died in a suicide attack against a synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba. Six German citizens were killed in the bombing of a Bali nightclub in October. During 2002, Germany played an important role in both Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and the UN's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Germany's contribution to OEF included 100 special-forces soldiers; 50 troops manning nuclear, biological, and chemical detection units in Kuwait; and approximately 1,800 personnel in a naval task force off the Horn of Africa. Germany reinforced ISAF's capabilities with approximately 1,300 troops, and German troop levels will increase to approximately 2,500 in connection with the undertaking by Germany and the Netherlands in December to assume leadership of ISAF in February 2003.

Germany has taken a lead role in Afghanistan's reconstruction through humanitarian and development assistance. German personnel helped train and equip a new Afghan police force, and Germany contributed 10 million Euros to the force.

German law-enforcement officials arrested several suspected terrorists. In October, authorities arrested Abdelghani Mzoudi for allegedly supporting the al-Qaida cell in Hamburg involved in the 11 September 2001 attacks. Mounir el Motassadeq, a Moroccan national who was arrested in November 2001 for his alleged membership in the Hamburg cell, went on trial, and it was continuing at year's end. (El Motassadeq was convicted early in 2003.) Five reported members of the al-Qaida-linked al-Tawhid organization were arrested in April and were awaiting indictment. German police thwarted a possible terrorist attack when they arrested a Turkish male and an American female suspected of attempting to bomb the US military base in Heidelberg.

In April, a trial opened in Frankfurt against four Algerians and a Moroccan accused of planning an attack on the Strasbourg Christmas market in December 2000. Some of the defendants claim that their intention was to bomb an empty Jewish synagogue but not kill anyone.

After lengthy negotiations, Germany agreed in November to provide the US Government with evidence in the US trial of French national Zacarias Moussaoui, who was arrested in August 2001 and is suspected of involvement with the 11 September hijackings.

Germany continued to take action against Caliphate State – a radical Turkish Islamic group based in Cologne – which was outlawed in December 2001. In September 2002, German authorities banned another 16 groups linked to Caliphate State and raided the homes and offices of suspected affiliates.

Germany has adopted antiterrorism reforms that should further its ability to fight terrorism. The reforms include bolstering the ability of intelligence officials and police to identify and pursue suspected terrorists, screening visa applicants for terrorists, improving border security, and allowing armed air marshals on German aircraft. Germany broadened its legal code to permit prosecutions of terrorists based outside of the country. Germany also modified its law on associations to remove the "religious privilege" clause, which had allowed extremist organizations to operate freely as religious organizations. The Government has used its new legislation, particularly the strengthened law on associations, to ban violence-prone extremist organizations.

Strong data-privacy protections and high evidentiary standards mean that terrorist investigations may take several months before arrests can be made, although administrative measures under the law of associations can be used to hamper the activities of extremist groups. Strong German opposition to the US death penalty has complicated efforts to forge a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the United States, but negotiations are continuing.

Germany is a party to 10 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism.

Germany has frozen 30 bank accounts associated with terrorist groups valued at about $95,000.

In 2002, Germany was chosen to chair the international Financial Action Task Force, which coordinates multilateral efforts on countering terrorist financing and money laundering.


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