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Germany court allows ongoing surveillance of left-wing political party

A German appeals court announced Wednesday that the government's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (OPC) [official website, in German] will be permitted to continue surveillance of members of the country's Left [Spiegel backgrounder] political party. The decision overturned a lower court ruling [The Local report], which prohibited the monitoring of a member of the Left. In its ruling the, court stated that the party has unconstitutional goals [DW report], which makes the government surveillance legitimate. The Left party has some historic ties to the former East German Communist party and has been linked to violent left-wing extremist groups. The suit challenging the surveillance was filed by Left member Bobo Ramelow, who has indicated that he will appeal the court's decision to the Constitutional Court [official website, in German].

The German government continues monitoring the rise of extremist groups and attempting to limit their influence within the country. Last November, the Constitutional Court upheld legislation [JURIST report] prohibiting public support and justification of the Nazi regime. The ruling means that neo-Nazis are forbidden from assembling for the purposes of of approving, glorifying or justifying the Nazi regime. The OPC issued a report in 2006 [JURIST report] showing an increase in neo-Nazi violence. In 2005, the Constitutional Court ruled that despite the failure of past government efforts, the extreme right-wing neo-Nazi party could still be banned [JURIST report] under German law.

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