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'Scared' Berlin Slammed for Appeal Against Court Verdict on Snowden Questioning

© AP Photo / dpa,Wolfgang KummFormer National Security Agency, NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden follows the 2014 Carl von Ossietzky Medal award ceremony by the International League for Human Rights via live video transmission in Berlin, Germany, Sunday Dec. 14,2014
Former National Security Agency, NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden follows the 2014 Carl von Ossietzky Medal award ceremony by the International League for Human Rights via live video transmission in Berlin, Germany, Sunday Dec. 14,2014 - Sputnik International
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The German government has appealed against the decision by Germany's Federal Court of Justice to question Edward Snowden in Germany, because of fears about the effect it may have on bilateral relations with the US, Germany's Berliner Zeitung reported.

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Germany's federal government is facing criticism from opposition parties after appealing against the decision by Germany's Federal Court of Justice allow German MP's to call Edward Snowden to Germany as a witness in their inquiry into spying in Germany carried out by foreign intelligence agencies.

Konstantin von Notz, chairman of the Green Party contingent on the German parliament's NSA investigation committee, said the government is "breaking minority parties' rights in order to avoid misfortune."

Martina Renner of Die Linke said that the federal government is "scared of his (Snowden's) testimony," Germany's Berliner Zeitung reported.

The Bundestag's NSA investigation committee was set up in March 2014 in the light of disclosures by former CIA employee and NSA security contractor Edward Snowden about mass surveillance practices carried out by US authorities around the globe. 

In May 2014 the committee decided in principle to call Snowden as a witness during the course of the investigation. Snowden, who was granted a three-year Russian residency permit in August 2014, could also be called via video link from Russia. 

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Bringing him to Germany in person to face questioning from the parliamentary committee could bring the German government into conflict with the US, which wants to extradite him to the US to face espionage and theft of property charges.

In November the Federal Court of Justice ruled that the German government should provide the conditions for Snowden to be questioned in Germany by the committee, such as a guarantee not to extradite him to the US. However, the CDU, CSU and SDP coalition government has decided to appeal the court's ruling, rather than provide such a guarantee.

The chairman of the NSA investigation committee, CDU representative Patrick Sensburg, said that if the Federal Court of Justice rules in favor of the government's appeal, the committee will take the case to Germany's Federal Constitutional Court on the basis that such a decision would infringe the rights of freely elected MP's conducting the enquiry.

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