GERMANY SETS PLAN TO REIN IN EXTREMISTS

[1/10/17]  Germany released a plan to rein in known extremists after authorities failed to prevent a terrorist attack last month by a Tunisian radical on a government watch list.

The proposed overhauls aim to make it easier for police to monitor, detain and deport asylum seekers believed to pose a terror threat, Germany’s interior and justice ministers said on Tuesday.

The plan—which the government plans to implement with legal changes in the weeks to come—reflects efforts to tighten enforcement within the guidelines of constitutional safeguards, informed by abuses committed under the Nazis, that strongly protect personal freedom.

Under current state police laws, for instance, preventive custody doesn’t exceed 14 days. Detentions of foreigners to be expelled also face stringent legal requirements, such as the necessity to obtain proof of identity of a suspect from his or her country of origin.

Under the ministers’ proposals, police would be allowed to detain rejected asylum seekers deemed dangerous for up to 18 months, by lowering some of the current requirements.

German authorities have been seeking ways to improve antiterror enforcement since Anis Amri rammed a truck into a Berlin Christmas market last month, killing 12 people and exposing holes in the country’s security architecture.

The planned overhaul “shows that in difficult times we are capable of finding reasonable solutions that will increase the safety of citizens in Germany without disproportionately constraining the public’s freedoms,” said Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière.

German authorities came under criticism for failing to expel Amri in the months before the attack even though he was on a watch list of extremists, had voiced plans to commit atrocities and was using fake identities.