07:13 GMT +322 October 2019
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    National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD)

    Where’s the Proof? Court Wants More Evidence to Ban Alleged Neo-Nazi Party

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    A push in Germany to ban a political party accused of sharing Nazi ideology has been halted after a Constitutional Court called for more evidence to prove that German intelligence agents were not embedded and active in the organisation.

    The legal action taken against the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), put forward by the interior ministers of Germany's federal states, has claimed that the group has a likeness to the ideology of the Nazi party.

    A collection of data and internal documents from the NPD has allegedly been tendered as evidence suggesting the link between the vision and principles of the groups.

    However, the legal process has hit a snag, with the German Constitutional Court demanding that more evidence be submitted to show that the party doesn't have any national intelligence agents who are active on undercover operations within the party.

    Fears of a Repeat of 2003

    This comes after an attempt in 2003 to ban the NPD was thrown out, when it was revealed that a significant number of the party's top officials were in fact secret German intelligence agents, who were paid by the government to work undercover.

    The court ruled in favour of allowing the party to continue operating, saying that there was a significant presence from the undercover intelligence agents, and that their influence on the NPD may have been mixed up with the group's ideology.

    The 2003 decision was widely criticised in Germany and seen as a huge embarrassment to the political system.

    There are fears that the latest legal effort could end with the same result, despite claims by state interior ministers who said that all informants were removed from the party before evidence for the new investigation was taken.

    Criticism of the Ruling

    Interior expert Stefan Mayer is among those who have criticised the Constitutional Court's most recent findings, telling online publication Passauer Neue Presse that "the federal states can in no way be accused of not having provided a sufficient amount of proof".

    German Green Party head Kathrin Göring-Eckardt also raised concerns about the ruling, labelling it an "alarm signal" that could derail the legal effort to ban the NPD. She was quoted as saying in Die Welt:

    "Memories will be stirred…this [ruling] confirms our scepticism about the whole process." 

    The legal push is hoping to prove that the NPD's alleged likeness to Nazi ideals is in breach of a section of the German constitution, which declares that political parties that "tarnish the free and democratic nature of the republic" are in violation of the constitution.

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    Tags:
    intelligence, Neo-nazis, nazism, The Greens, National Democratic Party, Germany, Europe
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