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German justice minister casts doubt on treason probe

Germany's justice minister casts doubt on treason claims against journalists

German justice minister casts doubt on treason probe

BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's justice minister is casting doubt on whether a website committed treason by reporting on authorities' plans to expand surveillance of online communication, following federal prosecutors' much-criticized decision to open an investigation.

Website, which covers digital rights issues, said Thursday it was notified by prosecutors of the probe against two journalists and an unidentified source, a rare investigation of journalists for treason.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas said he told the chief federal prosecutor Friday that he doubts the leaked documents cited in the website's reporting constituted a "state secret" whose publication would endanger Germany's security.

Chief prosecutor Harald Range was quoted as telling the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the investigation will be "paused" until prosecutors receive an expert opinion on whether the website's reporting revealed state secrets.

Updated : 2021-09-19 22:55 GMT+08:00