09:35 GMT +315 December 2017
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    A chair is pictured on stage as former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is awarded the Bjornson prize Molde, Norway, in this September 5, 2015 file photo

    German Government Successfully Appeals Against Bringing Snowden to Berlin

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    The German Federal Court of Justice has ruled in favor of the German government, which appealed against an earlier decision to allow the Bundestag's NSA investigation committee to summon Edward Snowden to Berlin for questioning.

    The German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has ruled that Edward Snowden doesn't have to come to Germany for questioning after all, following an appeal by the German government.

    Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Social Democratic Party (SPD) decided to appeal against an earlier BGH decision to 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. 

    The Bundestag's NSA investigation committee was set up in March 2014 in 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. 

    Two German opposition MPs on the eight-person committee wanted to call Snowden as a witness during the course of the investigation, and called on the German government to establish conditions for bringing him to Germany for questioning. 

    The German government refused, arguing it could not guarantee security for Snowden in German, who is wanted by the US on charges of espionage and theft of property charges.

    Berlin suggested that Snowden, who was granted a three-year Russian residency permit in August 2014, be called via video link from Russia. However, Snowden has refused to give evidence unless he comes to Berlin and is assured immunity from German or foreign law enforcement.

    Two German opposition parties, the Greens and Die Linke, challenged the committee's decision in the Federal Court of Justice last November.  The BGH 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, rather than provide such a guarantee the coalition government, decided to appeal against the ruling and on February 23 the BGH overruled its earlier decision. The court said that the opposition challenge would need the support of 25 percent of the Bundestag

    However, while the Greens and Die Linke make up 25 percent of the NSA investigation committee, they constitute 20 percent of German MP's in the Bundestag. The BGH ruled against their challenge on the basis that they do not represent a large enough proportion of Bundestag deputies.

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    Tags:
    German Bundestag, National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, Germany
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