Posted on February 3, 2016

Afghan Migrants Who Attacked Pensioners Were Denied Asylum, But Germany Says It’s ‘Too Dangerous’ to Send Them Home

Imogen Calderwood and Flemming Emil Hansen, Daily Mail, February 3, 2016

A gang of migrants who attacked two pensioners on a Munich subway train are Afghans who have been living in Germany for four years even though their asylum applications have been rejected, MailOnline can reveal.

The men–aged 19, 20 and 23–cannot be deported back to Afghanistan because it is deemed too dangerous. They may only be fined 200 euros for the attack.

Shocking footage of the assault this week showed the three men roughly seizing one elderly man by the arms, pinning him against the rail and shouting abuse at him.

A second elderly man can be seen grappling with one of the gang, before he is held up by the neck and threatened.

A Munich police spokesman told MailOnline it was ‘a big problem’ that so many migrants were able to stay in the country even after their asylum requests were rejected.

‘They have come here and their asylum requests have been rejected, but we aren’t able to send them home because there are no flights,’ said police spokesman Sven Muller.

‘A lot of people who have come here from war zones, from Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia, can’t be sent back when their asylum requests are denied because it’s too dangerous.’

‘It’s a big problem for Germany, and everywhere in Europe.’

Mr Muller estimated that there are a ‘few hundred thousand’ people in Germany living under a status dubbed ‘tolerated stay’–or ‘Duldung’ in German.

‘They aren’t here illegally, but it’s a legal position of its own. It’s for people who have sought asylum and been rejected but it’s not possible to send them back home.

‘It means they can stay in Germany until it’s possible to send them back.

‘We have some people, from countries with civil wars, who have been here like this for 10 or 15 years.

‘We have very strict asylum rules here and not everyone has a chance. Only a very small amount of people get asylum, but it’s not possible to send those who don’t back to their countries.’

Mr Muller added: ‘If you are here as an asylum-seeker, you have to live in a specific centre. But if you are “tolerated”, you can live anywhere you like and work as well.’

He said it would be preferable in Germany to be ‘tolerated’ than be granted asylum, as you have more freedom.

Frankfurt-based refugee organisation Pro Asyl has estimated that more than 100,000 foreigners are living in Germany under the ‘tolerated stay’, which has been used for decades by local authorities.

Of these, the organisation believes some 10 per cent have already been living in Germany for more than 15 years.

People with ‘Duldung’ are also able to claim benefits in Germany, although they are limited according to the Law of Benefits for Asylum Seekers.

For the first four years, the benefits received are 40 per cent lower than the benefits provided by the Job Centre, according to an information leaflet for migrants.

Detectives were able to trace the men after shocking footage of the attack went viral yesterday, sparking an investigation.

Munich man Tom Roth, 26, uploaded the footage–captured while travelling from Sendlinger Tor station to the Metro’s city centre terminal–to his Facebook page.

He said the fight broke out after a female passenger rejected the advances of one of the gang, after he placed his hand on her back.

In response, the man smashed his hand against one of the carriage’s glass windows–which caused outrage among the shocked passengers.

According to police, one of the men had previously spat on the ground at the feet of an elderly lady. When she tried to move to a seat further away the man ‘groped her buttocks’ and tried to trip up the woman, who was walking with a cane.

Three of the men, as well as the two victims, have been identified–but German law bans them from being named.

But Mr Muller said: ‘No crime has technically been committed, so maybe they will go to court in a few months, maybe they will get fined 200 euros, but nothing much.’

The incident is the latest in a series of violent confrontations between German residents and asylum-seekers.

It follows New Year riots in Cologne triggered by a number of sexual assaults made against local women by a group of up to a 1,000 men ‘of Arab and North African origin’.

Police described the series of assaults against women outside the city’s main train terminal as ‘a completely new dimension of crime’.

Mr Roth stressed that after his own experience, he believes German chancellor Angela Merkel must now take action to protect the country’s citizens.

He said: ‘I just felt the need to share this. Those involved were very distressed. An older lady said she doesn’t leave her home at night any more. The two gentlemen said that it cannot go on like this.

‘I felt safer in Germany two or three years ago. I find that terrifying and sad.

‘I’m really sorry for the people who need help, but something must happen against the violent and disrespectful people among them. Many Asylum seekers have no respect for women, no respect for men–not even the old–let alone our laws and the police.’