File - In this July 14, 2015 picture German Justice Minister, Heiko Maas , attends a news conference in Berlin. (Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via AP)
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Germany's justice minister came under fire Wednesday for sacking the top public prosecutor in a row over a treason investigation that has exposed tensions between press freedom and protection of state secrets.Federal prosecutors have been investigating whether news website Netzpolitik.org revealed state secrets by publishing plans to step up state surveillance of online communications in Germany, a country strongly wedded to press freedom and privacy.Justice Minister Heiko Maas said last week he doubted the journalists had intended to harm the state and that it was important to defend press independence, prompting federal prosecutor Harald Range to complain Tuesday of "intolerable" political meddling in the investigation. Hans-Peter Uhl, a member of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), sister party to Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), said Maas' decision to fire Range was "strange behavior".
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