The removal of one Afghan asylum seeker from Germany who was recently deported as part of a group of 69 people was reportedly against the law. Another one from the same group now told InfoMigrants that he too was deported before the end of his asylum process.
The contentious issue of deportations has once again become a main focus of the German media in the past week, with reports surfacing from Afghanistan about inconcistencies in deportations. On July 3, 69 Afghan refugees had been deported from Germany to Kabul, Afghanistan. Two people from that group have now stepped forward, claiming that they had been deported unlawfully.
Another man from the same group committed suicide upon arrival in Kabul, adding further controversy to the reports.
Meanwhile an unrelated news story has also contributed to turning the spotlight back onto Germany's uneasy relationship with its deportation practices: The recent removal of Osama bin Laden's former bodyguard Sami A. caused a stir after it emerged that a court ruling had found his deportation was illegal.
Sami A. will now have to be returned to Germany, with his case still pending.
These reports have left many people wondering whether Germany's deportation practices might be deficient and might be in need of an overhaul.
The case of Sardar Vali Sadozai
Sardar Vali Sadozai is one of the Afghan asylum seekers who was deported to Kabul on July 3 along with 68 others. He came to Germany in November 2015 and spent two-and-a-half years living in the city of Wurzen, Saxony.
He told InfoMigrants that his asylum case had eventually been rejected by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The Administrative Court also rejected his appeal, resulting in his case being referred to the Higher Administrative Court in a second instance.
Sodozai claims that his deportation to Afghanistan took place while his case was being processed. However, his lawyer, Thomas Könneker, said his client's case had been closed. Thomas Könneker told InfoMigrants that Sodozai had "received three rejections, one from BAMF, one from the Leipzig administrative court and one from the Higher Administrative Court in Saxony."
Rejection letter returned to sender
On December 20, 2017, Könneker had informed his client that his appeal had been rejected by the second court, but Sadozai apparently did not receive the letter, which was then returned to the attorney on December 27, 2017 by mail.
The Afghan asylum seeker who claims to have left Afghanistan because of family problems now says that his deportation was illegitimate because he was unaware of the decision from the second court.
Sadozai emphasized that he had a work contract with the Aldi supermarket chain in Germany, adding that he had presented his Afghan passport as well as his criminal record certificate to German authorities on May 30, 2018, stressing that he had no entries in his criminal record from the police.
"I had no problems. On July 2, I started working with Aldi. The Foreigner's Registration Office also agreed," he told InfoMigrants. But he was nevertheless arrested by police in order to be deported the next day.
"I showed my papers and my application to the second court, but they didn't help me."
Deportations to Afghanistan
German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced recently that the Federal Foreign Office had prepared a new report on the situation in Afghanistan, outlining which restrictions had lately been lifted and under what circumstances the deportation of Afghan asylum seekers could be carried out.
Following the deadly attack on the German embassy in Kabul in May 2017, the German government had committed to expelling only asylum seekers to Afghanistan who had either committed felonies, were withholding information about their identity or were considered potential criminal offenders. Asylum seekers with pending asylum processes who held an effective job contract, a clean criminal record and sound proof of identity – like Sardar Vali Sadozai – were considered exempt from deportation under these guidelines.
Sadozai's lawyer, Thomas Könneker, regards the most recent set of deportations as a sign of a policy shift in Germany: "The new interior minister Horst Seehofer wants to increase the number of deportations." He added that the state of Saxony, where Sadozai's case took place, is heavily following Bavaria's strategy of taking a heavy-handed approach toward migrants - Seehofer's home state.
Deportation of Nasibullah S. against law
Another Afghan migrant from the same group had made headline news in Germany earlier this week after claiming that his deportation was also against the law. According to German media reports, Nasibullah S., a 20-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan, should not have been deported, as the conclusion of his case was still pending.
Nasibullah S. had lodged his asylum application in December 2015, which was rejected by BAMF in February 2017. He then launched an appeal which was still being processed when he was picked up by police and deported alongside the 68 other Afghan nationals on July 3.
The spokesman of the court processing his appeal told the German regional broadcaster NDR that "due to the ongoing asylum process there should have been no deportation" in Nasibullah S.' case. Documents seen by NDR reportedly imply that BAMF officials as well as the local Foreigners' Registration Authority had presumed the earlier judgment to be the final word in the case and thus felt free to proceed with the deportation.
Meanwhile, German labor minister Hubertus Heil criticized state authorities for deporting asylum seekers who are well integrated into society and the workforce. "In fact, I sometimes do feel that the wrong people have to leave Germany," he told German newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine.