Germany - Case Update

Dr Anna Younes Surveillance’s Case: the Fight Continues with Two New Lawsuits

Published on Thu Nov 03 2022 - modified on Wed Nov 16 2022

On 2 November 2022, exactly three years after she discovered RIAS’ covert surveillance of her activities and after two legal victories, Dr Anna Younes launches two new lawsuits. She requests the Administrative Court of Berlin to find the preparation and transmission of the secret dossier on her unlawful, and she requests compensation.

On November 1 2019, RIAS/MBR shared a secret dossier it had compiled on Dr Anna Younes with the head of Die Linke/The Left, framing her as an anti-Jewish racist, sexist, and terrorist sympathizer. This led to her hasty disinvitation from a panel discussion held the next day by the political party Die Linke/The Left. Three years later, the scholar is continuing her legal battle against this surveillance and censorship.

Dr Younes has already two legal victories to her credit since the Berlin District Court ordered RIAS/MBR to provide Dr Younes access to the secret dossier and the Berlin Data Protection Authority (DPA) ruled that RIAS/MBR violated European data protection law. However, the DPA found the preparation and transmission of the dossier by RIAS/MBR lawful on the basis of their ‘legitimate interest’ in influencing political actors. In doing so, the DPA failed to motivate its decision and to take into consideration the fundamental rights, freedoms, and interests of the scholar.

Today, Dr Younes demands that the administrative court review the controversial DPA’s decision and acknowledge that RIAS/MBR’s surveillance and false labelling of Dr Younes as an anti-Jewish racist violated her right to privacy and right to reputation.

In addition, she is filing a new civil lawsuit so that judges finally find the preparation and transmission of the dossier unlawful and order RIAS/MBR to cease the collection of her personal data. Dr Younes will also request compensation for the ensuing harm inflicted by RIAS/MBR for over two years.

The two lawsuits are of paramount importance to challenge the repressive practices exercised by state-funded organisations such as RIAS Berlin and MBR. As long as German courts do not confirm their unlawfulness, those methods would become common-practice, unfettered and conducted without consideration of the individuals’s reputation and fundamental rights and freedoms. This is a crucial and collective legal battle.

Giovanni Fassina, Director of the ELSC.

Indeed, Dr Younes is not alone in facing smears, repression and censorship for exercising her freedom of expression and bringing the Palestinian narrative into the public discourse around racism. For this reason, third parties will also intervene in the administrative lawsuit to portray the extent of the harm inflicted by such surveillance practices.


Read more about the case and watch this video

Read and sign the support letter

Listen to the podcast featuring Dr Younes, Inna Michaeli and Alice Garcia (Advocacy and Communications Manager at ELSC

Donate to support Dr Younes in her legal battle as she reclaims her rights in court

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