Union wants to revoke German citizenship from suspected spy

Photo: Christoph de Vries (archive), via dts news agency

Berlin (dts) - Domestic politician Christoph de Vries (CDU) has brought up the possibility of revoking dual citizenship for one of the two suspected Russian spies arrested in Bavaria. “If the accusation of membership in a foreign terrorist organization is confirmed in the case of the accused Dieter S., this should definitely result in the revocation of German citizenship for this alleged terrorist,” de Vries told the “Handelsblatt” (Friday edition). The Nationality Act provides for this possibility if the person concerned “specifically takes part in combat operations by a terrorist organization abroad,” as it says in the relevant passage.

The SPD and FDP are critical of the withdrawal of dual citizenship. “I don’t think much of knee-jerk reactions after such incidents,” SPD parliamentary group vice-president Dirk Wiese told the newspaper. There are “strict limits for good reasons” on the possibility of revoking German citizenship. It is true that high hurdles protect them. “In particular, this is not a permissible instrument for sanctioning crimes.”

FDP Federal Vice President Wolfgang Kubicki made a similar statement. “In the constitutional state, even the most serious crimes are judged by courts according to criminal law and not by immigration authorities based on nationality law,” Kubicki told the newspaper.

In the case of Dieter S., the investigating judge at the Federal Court of Justice has issued an arrest warrant, which also concerns the accusation of membership in a foreign terrorist organization. S., who like the other accused has German and Russian citizenship, is accused of having been active in eastern Ukraine between December 2014 and September 2016 as a fighter in an armed unit of the “Donetsk People's Republic”. According to the Federal Prosecutor's Office, this is a pro-Russian organization that claimed control over the Ukrainian administrative district of Donetsk from spring 2014. The aim was to break away from Ukraine.