Building of the Attorney General in Karlsruhe. Image: Voskos. Licence: Creative Commons BY 3.0.
If it were up to the Federal Attorney General and the President of the German Domestic Security Agency, two of our reporters would soon be in prison for at least two years. Today, we were officially informed about investigations against our Markus Beckedahl, Andre Meister and an „unknown“ party. The accusation: Treason.
This is an English translation of the original German article.
Today, we received a letter from the Federal Attorney General of Germany confirming ongoing investigations against our reporters Markus Beckedahl, Andre Meister and an „unknown“ source, suspecting us of treason according to the German Penal Code:
Whosoever […] allows a state secret to come to the attention of an unauthorised person or to become known to the public in order to prejudice the Federal Republic of Germany or benefit a foreign power and thereby creates a danger of serious prejudice to the external security of the Federal Republic of Germany, shall be liable to imprisonment of not less than one year.
Until now, we were reported merely as witnesses in the case, but now we shall be held responsible (for treason) like our unknown source(s) – as joint principals.
This is an attack on press freedom! The last charges of treason against journalists in Germany have been a very long time ago, notably the Spiegel Affair of 1962.
From the very beginning, the charges against our alleged source(s) were politically motivated and targeted to crush the neccessary public debate about internet surveillance Post-Snowden. Whistleblowers in the public intrerest need protection, not prosecution as „treason“. Investigating the acclaimed media outlet netzpolitik.org as accomplices in treason charges is a direct attack on freedom of the press, which we thought was outlawed with the Constitutional Court ruling in the Cicero case 2007.
The Federal Attorney General needs to drop the investigations against us and our alleged source(s) and instead investigate and charge out-of-control secret services, that are expanding their mass surveillance without public debate.
We will not let ourselves be intimidated by the investigations and we will continue our critical and indepentent journalism – complete with original documents. Netzpolitik.org is financed by voluntary donations.
As a nicely-timed coincidence, next Wednesday we will receive an award as „Distinct Place“ from „Germany – Land of Ideas“, a joint initiative of the German government and industry – patron is Federal President Joachim Gauck.
Read the original German letter of the Federal Attorney General in full text:
Treason: A letter from the Attorney General.
24th July 2015
Federal Attorney General
at the Federal Supreme Court
The Federal Attorney General . post office box 27 20 . 76014 Karlsruhe
Mr. Markus Beckedahl
3 BJs 13/15-1
(please quote if you answer)
Senior public prosecutor at the Federal Court
Concerning: Preliminary investigation by public prosecution against
- Andre Meister
- Markus Beckedahl
concerning suspicion of treason; here the disclosure of the initiation of a preliminary investigation by public prosecution
Dear Markus Beckedahl,
With regard to the provision of § 78c paragraph1 number 1 version 2 of the German Penal and Code tied with § 22 paragraph 1 alternative 2 of the Berlin Presslaw, I am informing you that because of complaints from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution against you, I am initiating a Preliminary investigation because of the suspicion of treason appropriate to § 94 paragraph 1 number 2, 25 paragraph 2, 53 Federal Penal Code. Subject of the investigation is the publification of the following two articles on the blog „netzpolitik.org“. You are the person of responsibility for the blog. On February 25th 2015 at 10:40, an article with the title „Geheimer Geldregen: Verfassungsschutz arbeitet an Massenauswertung von Internetinhalten (Updates)“ (Secret Moneyrain: Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution is working on mass analysis of internet content) was published. Following that on the 15th of April 2015 at 9:05, there was another article published with the title „Geheime Referatsgruppe: Wir präsentieren die neue Verfassungsschutz-Einheit zum Ausbau der Internetüberwachung“ (Secret unit group: we are presenting the new Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution-Unit concerning the extension of internet surveillance, which is also available in English since the 15th of April 2015 20:10.
by order of