Protection of the Constitution: AfD against Protection of the Constitution: Information on informants

The eagerly awaited decision by the North Rhine-Westphalia Higher Administrative Court on the observation of the AfD by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) is a long time coming.

Protection of the Constitution: AfD against Protection of the Constitution: Information on informants

The eagerly awaited decision by the North Rhine-Westphalia Higher Administrative Court on the observation of the AfD by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) is a long time coming. On the first day of the oral hearing, the AfD fundamentally questioned whether the domestic secret service had any legal basis for assessing the party. "This is not about any rabbit breeders' association," but about a relatively successful party, said their lawyer, Christian Conrad, on Tuesday in the hearing before the 5th Senate of the Higher Administrative Court (OVG) in Münster. The party of Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla wants to ensure that the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution withdraws its classification of the AfD as a suspected right-wing extremist case. After around eleven hours, the presiding judge, Gerald Buck, interrupted the hearing until Wednesday morning.

Office for the Protection of the Constitution: Hardly any evidence from informants for the Office for the Protection of the Constitution

When the question of possible informants - people you trust in the party's environment - arose, a representative of the BfV explained in the evening that "only two of the several thousand pieces of evidence" that had been submitted to the court "represented statements or behavior of human beings Sources from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution include". The BfV also critically examined whether, during the processing of the AfD as a suspected case and with regard to its junior organization, during the processing of the Junge Alternative as a suspected case and as a proven extremist effort, members of state or federal executive boards were appointed as confidants of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, one of whom was "controlling "Influence" could have resulted. There was no such influence during the relevant period.

The Federal Office's lawyer, Wolfgang Roth, explains in Münster that the classification by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution should not only take into account statements that are relevant to criminal law. Rather, the benchmark is whether these are directed against the free, democratic basic order. It's not about individual derailments by ordinary members, but about defamatory, denigrating statements made by officials or elected officials.

Even before the OVG entered into the substantive dispute, the AfD's lawyer called for an adjournment. It was not possible to deal with the approximately 4,200 pages of documents and 116 hours of video material submitted in January in such a short time, he says. Among other things, he demands access to a new report from the Federal Office on the AfD. A representative of the BfV emphasized in court that the authority's new assessment of the AfD was not yet final - "there is no finished report."

Presiding judge accuses AfD of abuse of law

The AfD fills several hours at the beginning of the hearing with reservations about the Senate and the naming of numerous witnesses from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The presiding judge accuses her of abusing the law. The party has not presented any new arguments for its reservations about the Senate, he says. Your request against the entire Senate was made across the board and obviously without any basis. The plaintiff said on Tuesday evening that she had prepared around 210 applications for evidence.

The OVG is intended to clarify whether a judgment from the lower instance at the Cologne Administrative Court is valid. The BfV, based in Cologne, had classified the party and the Junge Alternative (JA) as suspected right-wing extremist cases. The judges in Cologne confirmed this view in 2022. Since then, the party and the JA have been allowed to be monitored using intelligence means.

Ethnic folk term

At that time, the Cologne court referred to reports and material collections from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Activities of the youth organization were also included in the evaluation. Both in the now formally dissolved wing, which was once brought into being by the Thuringian AfD state leader Björn Höcke, and in the JA, an ethnically understood concept of the people is a central political goal. According to this, the German people must be preserved in their ethnic structure and “foreigners” must be excluded as far as possible. This contradicts the concept of the people in the Basic Law. There are also statements in which accusations of “repopulation” and “national death” are made.

From the AfD leadership, former Bundestag member Roman Reusch and Federal Treasurer Carsten Hütter were in court in Münster.

Judgment date still open

It is still unclear when there will be a verdict. The plaintiff was obviously prepared for a marathon session from the start. In any case, the AfD team had cookies and drinks delivered to the courtroom at their own expense.

Before the start of the negotiations, the deputy AfD federal chairman, Peter Boehringer, answered the question on Deutschlandfunk about how the party would deal with a defeat. Given the scope of the questions to be clarified, a decision after two days of oral negotiations would alone be a reason for this a revision. However, the next instance, the Federal Administrative Court, would only examine the OVG's decision for possible legal errors. Questions about content no longer play a role there.

When asked about the negotiations in Berlin, the parliamentary managing director of the AfD parliamentary group, Bernd Baumann, said: "I'm completely relaxed about it. We'll see what comes out of it and then we'll continue on our path."

No request for a ban

The proceedings are not about banning a party. The Bremen government factions - SPD, Greens and Left - are seeking a ban on the AfD. The Bremen Senate should campaign for this at the federal level, the parliamentary groups announced last week. Only the Federal Constitutional Court can decide on such a ban - after an application from the Bundestag, Bundesrat or Federal Government.

In Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution has classified the respective AfD regional association as a confirmed right-wing extremist effort. This now also applies to the JA and was confirmed by the Cologne Administrative Court. The AfD is also defending itself against this. However, this is not the subject of the proceedings in Münster. In nationwide voter surveys, the AfD was recently at around 18 percent.

Notice of procedure

NEXT NEWS