sexta-feira, 23 de dezembro de 2016
Berlin attacker manhunt ends in shootout but questions remain / Merkel to review security after Berlin attack
Merkel to review security after Berlin attack
“We will press ahead with examining whether certain state measures need to be changed,” the German chancellor said.
By JANOSCH DELCKER 12/23/16, 5:32 PM CET Updated 12/23/16, 7:43 PM CET
BERLIN — Just hours after Anis Amri, the suspect in the Christmas market attack in Berlin, was killed in a shootout with authorities in Milan, Chancellor Angela Merkel faced up to German security agencies’ failure to prevent the massacre.
“We will press ahead with examining whether certain state measures need to be changed,” Merkel said in a press conference on Friday. “The Amri case raises lots of questions. Not only questions about the deed but also about the time leading up to it ever since he arrived in Germany.”
Amri, a Tunisian, arrived in Germany in July 2015 and was denied asylum a year later but wasn’t deported, despite having spent four years in an Italian prison, raising questions about the efficiency and lack of coordination between Germany’s many security agencies.
German security services have identified as many as 550 people as willing and able to commit terrorist attacks, so-called Gefährder, which roughly translates as “individuals likely to endanger public safety.”
That number is 110 higher than last year, but whether that’s because more people are being radicalized, or authorities are getting better at finding them, is unclear.
After finding Amri’s identification card inside the truck used in the attack, authorities “quickly determined that he is an Islamist Gefährder,” Holger Münch, chief of the Federal Criminal Office (BKA), told journalists.
Around half of the so-called Gefährder are not currently in Germany, and roughly 80 are behind bars, leaving almost 200 at large in the country, the Interior Ministry confirmed to POLITICO.
A spokesperson for the ministry confirmed the numbers but said it could not provide further details about whether authorities are monitoring the suspects. “‘At large’ is your choice of words,” he said.
The fact that Amri was killed by authorities “unfortunately doesn’t change the terrorist threat in Germany,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said on Friday. “It remains high.”
When it comes to monitoring suspects, authorities are partly hamstrung by stringent privacy laws as well as the logistical challenge of observing hundreds of people around the clock in disparate locations.
Furthermore, many of the Gefährder known to authorities may never have committed a crime. Instead, authorities have been alerted to them because of suspicious behavior, such as expressing extremists views in internet forums, or having traveled to destinations in Syria or Iraq or elsewhere.
Italian police stand by the body of suspected Berlin truck attacker Anis Amri
Berlin attacker was part of German ISIL network: CNN
Given the privacy laws, German law enforcement can only put people under surveillance for a limited amount of time before they have to go back to court to get approval again for the surveillance.
In the case of Amri, authorities observed him for months, according to Berlin’s state prosecutor. However, this surveillance was terminated in September, after previous observations had not yielded enough evidence to continue it, according to media reports.
But the logistical constraints are also an issue.
Sebastian Fiedler, the deputy chief of Germany’s Criminal Police Union (BDK), told the news website Tagesschau.de that in order to observe one person around the clock, roughly 40 police officials are necessary, making it “virtually impossible” to observe all Gefährder in the country with the available resources.
“In the state of North Rhine-Westphalia alone, we are talking about around 200 people,” Fiedler said. To observe them around the clock, “we would need about 8,000 police officers, which is more than a third of all officers in the state.”
Nevertheless, as more and more apparent flaws in monitoring the suspected perpetrator of Monday’s attack are emerging, Merkel and de Maizière appear willing to reassess security regulations.
On Friday, a spokesperson for the German justice ministry confirmed that they were drafting a regulation for electronic ankle bracelets for suspects who have previously been convicted.
“In these times of great challenges we will do everything possible for our state to be a strong state,” Merkel said.
At the same time, she stressed that any toughening up of security measures would not happen at the expense of democratic values and civil liberties.
“Our democracy, our state is based on the rule of law,” she said. “Our values and our humanity are the alternatives to the hateful world of terrorism, and they will be stronger than terrorism.”