FRANKFURT: A German court on Friday ordered a temporary halt to plans by the domestic intelligence agency to spy on the far-right AfD party for posing a threat to democracy.
The Cologne administrative court ruled that the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) had to await the outcome of a legal challenge brought by the AfD first.
German media reported earlier this week that the BfV had decided to classify the anti-Islam, anti-immigrant AfD as “a suspected case” of right-wing extremism.
The designation would allow BfV agents to monitor the party, but the decision was not officially communicated.
The AfD is challenging the classification in emergency proceedings and the court found that the BfV had “not taken sufficient care” to prevent the information from leaking to the press while the case is pending.
The publicity given to the planned surveillance had interfered “in an unacceptable manner” with the AfD’s constitutionally enshrined right “to equal opportunities among political parties” in a key election year, the court said.
AfD co-leader Joerg Meuthen hailed the court’s temporary suspension as “a great victory for us” and mocked Germany’s secret services “for failing to keep a secret”.