Germany’s Federal Public Prosecutor General’s Office could be looking to charge opposition party politicians with “high treason” for their attendance at a “secret meeting” in Potsdam, where participants allegedly discussed a plan to deport foreigners.
According to German news publication Junge Freiheit, the investigation is based on a criminal complaint filed by a private individual who accused the participants of the meeting of high treason under Section 81 of the German criminal code. If convicted of such a crime, individuals can serve a minimum of 10 years in prison, if a prosecutor can prove the individual “endangered the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany” or wanted to abolish “the constitutional order” by using or threatening violence.
So far, Germany’s top prosecutors are only exploring the possibility of charging the AfD politicians present with treason, and no charges have yet been filed.
However, the AfD is also taking legal action against the state-funded NGO Correctiv, which first produced the report. AfD MP Gerrit Huy accuses the publication of illegally distributing secret audio and video recordings of her. AfD co-leader Tino Chrupalla also accused the NGO of “Stasi tactics” for sending an undercover agent into the meeting, taking clandestine photos of participants, and using other questionable tactics. There is also concern from the AfD that Correctiv may have had support from intelligence services.
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However, Huy, instead of trying to keep any recordings from Correctiv a secret, is demanding they be made available to her and then made public. Many of the participants at the event deny that there were any plans to deport German citizens, as Correctiv alleges.
“I filed a complaint about three weeks ago for violation of personal rights. I am particularly interested in gaining access to any audio and video recordings. In the positive case, I would sue for the release of these recordings, in particular, to make the audio recordings public afterwards,” Huy told the news agency dpa.
Huy may have a case, as in German law, sections 201 and 201a of the criminal code feature a ban on secret recordings, both visual and audio recordings, made in non-public or specially protected spaces. There is also coverage under the Art Copyright Act.
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However, Correctiv denies that any audio recordings were made, which means their report was based on hearsay. One thing is certain, members of the event were photographed secretly while in attendance, as agents took clandestine photos of participants through windows of the villa.
The owner of the property where the meeting took place is Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician Wilhelm Wilderink, who told Die Welt: “What ‘Correctiv’ described never happened. The same applies to the alleged expulsion of German citizens. This was neither demanded nor decided in any way.”
He now faces potential expulsion from his party, which may be why he is attempting to distance himself from the meeting.
“We are a house of free opinion, but the decision still stands that we do not want events from certain parties such as the Left, the AfD and anti-constitutional organizations here and have always rejected them in the past,” he said. However, he denies that any “extreme, anti-constitutional views were represented” during the meeting.
Wilderink showed little concern for any plans to remove him from the CDU, saying: “It has no basis whatsoever and will come to nothing. In the end, it will be dropped with an apology.”