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German leaders debate proposed anti-terrorism measures

[JURIST] German politicians are debating a wave of new anti-terrorism proposals after terrorists attempted to blow up two trains [BBC report] in the country one month ago. Despite recently-passed legislation expanding state intelligence powers and allowing the prosecution of foreign terrorists in Germany [JURIST news archive], legislators backing other proposals for increased security are likely to face an uphill battle. German Chancellor Angela Merkel [official website, in German; BBC profile] has rejected a call for armed train marshals, while politicians continue to debate the contents of an anti-terrorist database.

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger [official website, in German], a deputy parliamentary leader of the opposition Free Democratic Party [party website; Wikipedia backgrounder], has suggested that authorities only be able to view which agencies have information on a suspect, but will not have access to details of that information unless investigators request it formally. Deputy parliamentary leader of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union [official website; Wikipedia backgrounder], Wolfgang Bosbach [official website], has proposed that the database also house information such as a suspect's religion, which has been criticized by liberals and rights groups. A judicial challenge to the database is expected, and earlier this year the German Constitutional Court [official website, in German] ruled [JURIST report] that German police may not trawl databases to identify possible terrorists without a specific threat to national security, human life or freedom. The debate over the database and personal privacy has been colored by memories of German state power in Nazi era, which still evokes popular unease, especially among members of minority groups in the country. AP has more.

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