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German treason investigation of journalists suspended

The website published leaked information about Germany's intelligence agency.

By Ed Adamczyk
German treason investigation of journalists suspended
A treason case agaist two journalists of the German news website Netzpolitik.org was suspended (Netzpolitik.org)

BERLIN, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Germany officially suspended a treason investigation Monday aimed at two journalists of the news website Netzpolitik.org.

In a high-profile case, Markus Beckedahl and Andre Meister were suspected of revealing state secrets after it alleged on its website in February Germany's intelligence agency sought additional funding for its online surveillance program. Another news story, in April, said the agency would establish a unit to monitor social media websites.

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The chief prosecutor's office announced the investigation has been dropped, and added it accepted a Justice Ministry report indicating no state secrets were leaked.

The case drew comment about the state of Germany's freedom of speech, as well as rallies supporting Beckedahl and Meister.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas fired prosecutor Harald Range last week over his handling of the probe. With German Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly siding with Maas, the case became a conflict between the German government and its judiciary arm. Freedom of information is a sensitive and constant topic in Germany, with its history of misuses of data by the Nazi and East German governments.

Beckedahl and Meister noted the investigation has merely been suspended, not formally dropped; the German television tagessachau.de website quoted them as demanding "the immediate cancellation of the investigation. We are no traitors."

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