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Germany may use army for World Cup security-paper

Reuters | December 16 2005

BERLIN, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Germany's interior minister wants to change the country's constitution to allow internal troop deployments for extra security during next year's World Cup finals.

In an interview with daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung to be published on Friday, Wolfgang Schaeuble also said he wanted to toughen up anti-terror measures.

Schaeuble's comments could stir discussion on the domestic use of armed forces, a sensitive issue in the ruling coalition. Such deployment is currently only legal in exceptional circumstances and with the support of both houses of parliament.

"During the World Cup, for example, our federal and state police forces will be very stretched," Schaeuble was quoted as saying. "Why shouldn't we transfer security services temporarily to the armed forces from the police to relieve them."

Germany's constitution, written in 1949 with the lessons of Nazi rule in mind, establishes strict separation between police and military. Under the Nazis, the line between the two became blurred, leading to a ruthless militarised police state.

To change the constitution, the ruling coalition would need a two-thirds majority in both the upper and lower houses.

Schaeuble said armed forces could be used to guard stadiums, airports and team quarters.

"No one wants to see tanks in front of train stations or stadiums, this is completely absurd ... Yet you can imagine what would happen if somewhere a bomb in a back pack would explode."

In the interview, Schaeuble also said he wanted to toughen up criminal law on anti-terror measures.

"We could for example put a penalty on going for training to a terrorist camp in Afghanistan or elsewhere," he said, adding that currently Germany's law on foreigners allowed deportation of those considered dangerous even if there was not enough evidence to prosecute them.

But often deportation was ruled out if the person would return to a war zone or would face capital punishment.

"We could find a new starting point in that discrepancy between penal code and the law on foreigners," he said. "We want to investigate if it is possible to change the penal liability to put a person under criminal threat or sanctions if they are so close to terrorism ambitions that they could be deported."

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