When I read this article in Frankfurter Allgemeine on Saturday, I could not really believe it: A university teacher from my former study centre for Social Sciences at the Humboldt University in Berlin has been arrested as a terror suspect. The accusations really sounded too unreal to be true. But the FAZ is a serious newspaper and maybe the article was just a fictional scenario to point at the randomness of our new “anti-terror” laws in Germany. The day after I was then contacting another one of my former teachers and he confirmed that the story was real!
The reasons given by the national prosecutor are completely unreal. A summary by the suspect’s lawyer reads like this (excerpt from here):
# the office of the federal prosecutor possesses no information concerning the nature of Dr. Andrej H.’s meeting with the suspected arsonists; their suspected participation in the “militant group” is based on the fact of the meetings alone;
# according to the federal prosecutor’s office, Dr. Andrej H.’s involvement in the terrorist group can be deduced from his intellectual engagement in subjects broached in the writings of the “mg”; a 1998 publication of Dr. Andrej H. contained various “key words and phrases” also found in the texts of the “militant group” (including, for example, the term “gentrification” widely used in urban sociology),
# the suspect, with a doctoral degree in political science and, “as an employee of a research institute, had access to libraries where he could inconspicuously do the research required for the founding of a militant group”.
Now a conservative might argue that you do not need to meet certain people with alleged extreme tendencies but do I have to cross-check all my previous publications and university essays for any potential key words connected to the terrorism (whatever this term implies)?! Just because I might have a chat with some person I am having a coffee with for whatever reason?
And just to warn you: you will surely find very similar terminology in papers I prepared for my course at Andrej H.’s chair!
I used to think that the “war against terror” and the accompanying thoughened legislation was something that either happened only in the USA/UK, with measures in Germany that were simply taken to answer to public expectations but without practical consequences. Now that the consequences are coming so close to me – and with such random argumentation – I regret to understand how naive I used to be.
This exerience makes me a sad citizen of my country. However, it is the more important now to raise public concern and illustrate how unacceptable such a reasoning of the national prosecutor is. The minimum to do is to sign up against the random action of the German state attorney at www.freeandrej.net.ms (with explanations in English and German).