By Andrew Bowen (Deutsche Welle) June 1, 2011
By Andrew Bowen (Deutsche Welle)
June 1, 2011
German federal police have been training Saudi Arabian security forces since 2009. While their official mission is to train in border control, a recent report claims the police have been involved in murkier activities.
Dozens of officers in the German federal police have been involved in training Saudi Arabian security forces in how to search and occupy houses and deal with protests and uprisings, according to an investigative report by the television news magazine Fakt.
The report, aired Monday on public broadcaster ARD, quotes classified documents, unnamed German police officers and people involved in the training as saying their mission goes beyond the official description by the government to train in border security.
In March, Saudi forces entered neighboring Bahrain to support the Sunni-led regime, which was facing massive protests by majority Shiites. The troops violently suppressed the protests and dozens were killed.
“It was clear in March at the demonstrations that protesters were shot,” an unnamed German police trainer said in the report. “You don’t want to imagine what happens when these units trained by German police go ahead in their own country.”
In a statement e-mailed to Deutsche Welle, the Interior Ministry said it could not explicitly confirm the report and that training by German federal police in Saudi Arabia was for border observation and “leadership and decision-making processes.” It said the training courses do not serve to prepare police for protests, and that “human rights and the fundamentals of the rule of law” are included.
EADS defense contract
Fakt had previously reported in April that the German mission in Saudi Arabia was an essential part of a contract between the Saudis and the European defense firm EADS to improve border security.
EADS was hired to provide infrared cameras, laser sensors and ground radar along Saudi borders. The report said the Saudis had specifically requested German police trainers, and that EADS paid honorariums to the trainers, while their base salary came from the Interior Ministry.
The federal police union has confirmed that German police officers were cooperating with EADS at a training camp in Saudi Arabia. Missions of at least 25 German police officers have reportedly traveled to Saudi Arabia for three months at a time to take part in the training.
The Interior Ministry said in its statement that the federal police mission in Saudi Arabia was not on behalf of EADS, and that employees were paid through the German development organization GIZ.