German Media Posts Photo of Berlin Terror Suspect With His Face Obscured

December 21, 2016, 3:59 PM UTC

Germany is engaged in a massive manhunt for a Tunisian man who authorities believe is tied to Monday’s terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin. On Wednesday, the German media released a photo of the man—identified by police only as “Anis A”—and who reportedly left documents near the truck used to carry out the attack, which killed 12 people.

As you can see in the photo above, however, the published photo, which appeared in Bild, obscures the man’s face. Meanwhile, news outlets in the United Kingdom and elsewhere are publishing unredacted pictures of the suspect. Here is the image that appears above a story on the website of The Independent:


According to David Meyer, a journalist based in Berlin and frequent contributor to Fortune, the decision by the German media to redact the suspect face is due to the country’s strict privacy laws, which also explain the decision to publish only the initial of his surname.

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Meyer adds that a case of mistaken identity earlier in the investigation, in which German authorities detained a Pakistani immigrant who has later been released, show why the police and media want to be cautious in publishing photos. But he also notes that in this situation—a manhunt where police want help to find the suspect—he doesn’t understand the reasoning for obscuring his face.

As of late Wednesday morning Eastern Standard Time, the manhunt for the suspect is still ongoing. News reports say he is an asylum seeker, and that authorities believe he has ties to ISIS. According to The Independent:

Anis A, who posed as Egyptian and Lebanese under various fake names, was reportedly classified as a terror threat and put under increased surveillance before a court in Ravensburg issued an order for his deportation in July. It was unclear how he remained in Germany.

The terror attack, and the German authorities struggle to track down the suspect, may lead some in Germany to reevaluate the country’s tough privacy laws.

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