German Terror Suspects Released Because Attack Not Sufficiently Imminent
Die Welt, a German language news agency, reports that six Syrian migrants suspected of plotting a terrorist attack in Essen were released from holding because the attack was not sufficiently imminent.
The prosecutor says that since “there are no urgent references to the preparation of an attack or an IS membership” it was a violation of their rights to arrest them. In other words there was little risk of an immediate attack because the suspects were still in the early planning stages.
Interestingly, the prosecution does not deny that the suspects were likely planning an attack, instead he says that because they were in the early stages there remains reasonable doubt as to their intentions.
Of course, German police saw the situation differently. Several hundred police officers coordinated across four German states on Tuesday morning to arrest the suspects simultaneously in Kassel, Hanover, Essen, and Leipzig.
All suspects were Syrian men between the ages of 20 and 28 who arrived in Germany in 2014 as refugees from Racca—an ISIS stronghold. They stayed in close contact and were suspected of having connections with the Islamic State.
This accusation was made by police on the basis of the surveillance data they obtained, and the suspects telling behavior. For example, one of the suspects was found repeatedly photographing popular shopping centers in Essen.
Although police found no firearms nor explosives in the suspect’s apartments, they nevertheless believe that the suspects were “preparing an attack on a public target in Germany”.
Legally speaking, the prosecutor likely made the right decision: there was probably not enough evidence to convict the suspects, given the circumstantial nature of the evidence. However, what is legal and what is right are often not the same.
Is it in the public interest to release suspected terrorists simply because they have not finished planning their attack? If they are terrorists, will this not encourage them to expedite their plans?
Likewise, these men are not German citizens—they are illegal migrants from Syria. Why should they be afforded the same legal protections as a German citizen? Does it not make far more sense to simply deport them and not risk an attack?
These are questions that the German people must answer for themselves at the ballot box. Unfortunately it may be too late by then.