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German court strikes down observation of lawmaker

BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s high court says authorities’ surveillance of a far-left member of parliament is unconstitutional but is leaving open the possibility they could continue keeping tabs on other lawmakers considered extreme.

The Federal Constitutional Court said in a ruling Wednesday that the domestic intelligence agency must have strictly justified reasons to spy on a lawmaker.

It found no justification in the case of lawmaker Bodo Ramelow, a former member of the successor to the East German communist party who helped it join with left-wing members of the Social Democrats to form today’s opposition Left party.

Interior Ministry spokesman Hendrik Loerges says it’s not clear how the ruling will affect observation of other lawmakers considered part of “extremist structures” but that it would reevaluate them based on the decision.

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