RUST, Germany (Reuters) - Germany’s ruling coalition plans to look into stripping Islamic State fighters of their German citizenship to prevent them from coming back to the country, a draft document seen by Reuters on Wednesday shows.
More than 800 people have traveled from Germany to Syria and northern Iraq in recent years and around 70 returnees took part in combat or military training there, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said earlier this month.
“To prevent jihadists from returning to Germany, we want to examine the legal possibilities for depriving people of German citizenship if they fight for a terrorist militia abroad and have another citizenship alongside their German one,” read the draft document, which the coalition of conservatives and Social Democrats are to discuss on Thursday.
The coalition is also considering depriving German supporters of Islamic State of identity cards and passports to prevent them from traveling to areas controlled by Islamic State, the document said.
Increasing video surveillance of public areas to better tackle threats from Islamists as well as right and left-wing extremists is another measure the coalition is considering, according to the document.
Any talk of boosting surveillance generally causes controversy in Germany, where many people still remember the Stasi secret police and its network of informants in the former Communist east.
The coalition may also consider whether people returning from fighting for IS could be given electronic tags.
“People who our security authorities think are prepared to commit significant offences because they support terrorist activities must remain on the radar of security authorities,” the document said, adding that electronic monitoring methods should be considered.
The coalition also wants to make it easier to confiscate assets if there is a suspicion that they were acquired via terrorist activities.
Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Andrew Roche