16 people, among them 11 convicted criminals, have been deported from Munich to Pakistan, the Bavarian office for asylum announced on Wednesday.
This Wednesday (February 17) morning at 6:30 am, a collective deportation flight with 16 people on board took off from Munich airport bound for Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. That's according to a press release from Wednesday published on the website of the Bavarian state office for asylum and repatriations.
The 16 persons in question were enforceably obliged to leave the country ("vollziehbar ausreisepflichtig"), the press release said. It did not say whether any or all of the 16 deportees were Pakistani nationals.
Also read: What are Germany's deportation rules?
11 convicted criminals
According to the press release, 11 of the 16 the deportees were criminals who had been convicted of, among other things, manslaughter, rape, dangerous assault, fraud, theft with weapons, resistance against enforcement officers and illegal drug dealing.
All convicted criminals had received prison sentences in Germany, some of them several years long.
The press release stated that 14 of the 16 people were deported from Bavaria, and that the states of Brandenburg and Baden-Wuerttemberg were also involved in the deportation.
While the Bavarian state office for asylum and repatriations was in charge, according to the press release, the deportation was carried out in cooperation with Germany's federal interior ministry and EU border agency Frontex.
The first deportation flight from Germany to Pakistan since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic took place in July last year when 19 failed Pakistani asylum seekers were flown to Islamabad.
During the first five months of 2020, the number of deportations from Germany dropped by more than 50% due to the pandemic.
Unlike other EU countries, Germany never announced an official stop to deportation flights during COVID-19. However, it said it would temporarily halt so-called Dublin transfers for the duration of the pandemic.
The practice of returning failed asylum seekers to their home countries is a controversial issue in Germany. Opponents often stage protests when they know of such collective deportation flights in advance.