Germany could force ‘potential terrorists’ to wear electronic tags even if they are not convicted of any crime

Germany is considering electronically tagging potential terrorists with electronic ankle bracelets even if they have not been convicted of a crime.

Administrative detention without trial is also on the cards if the countries of origin of terror suspects refuse to take them back.

Justice minister Heiko Maas is discussing the issue with police chiefs and other ministers in the wake of the pre-Christmas truck massacre in Germany which left 12 dead and 48 injured.

‘We must do everything to have potentially dangerous individuals identified at a glance, even before a possible court verdict,’ he said. 

‘Therefore there can be no taboo around the use of electronic ankle cuffs.’

Germany estimates it has close to 600 highly dangerous potential terrorists in its midst which it cannot charge for lack of concrete proof or monitor constantly because of lack of manpower and funds.

The law in Germany regarding the use of electronic tagging was changed in the summer of last year following an axe attack on a train by an ISIS terrorist and the suicide bombing by another.

But as it stands only people arrested and freed on bail can be tagged.

Maas now wants the law to apply to all potential Muslim terrorists hiding among the million-plus refugees who came to Germany over the last 18 months.


On Tuesday he will meet with interior minister Thomas de Maizière.

The ankle tagging is one of a raft of security measures under consideration following the truck slaughter.

One of them would give police the right to seize and hold individuals suspected of ‘endangering public security’ even if there were no direct concrete plans for an attack discovered.

Also on the table is the possibility of holding rejected asylum seekers considered potential terrorists in custody without trial.

Maas said: ‘Detention may be imposed in the future for suspected dangerous people if the countries of origin do not co-operate on repatriation.’

Had such a law been in existence last year, the truck attack carried out by Tunisian born Anis Amri might never have happened.

He was free to roam around the continent even though he had been served with a deportation order because Tunisia initially refused to accept he was a citizen.

Also being discussed are potential sanctions against states which do not take back people rejected for asylum in Germany.

Thomas Oppermant, center left SPD parliamentary group leader, said the government should ‘exert pressure’ on such countries.’