Posted on June 7, 2024

Germany to Deport Afghans and Syrians Convicted of Serious Crimes

Guy Chazan, Financial Times, June 6, 2024

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says asylum seekers from Syria and Afghanistan who commit serious crimes will be deported to their home countries, in a significant change of policy that comes days after a policeman was killed by a suspected Islamist extremist.

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The announcement came four days after a police officer succumbed to wounds sustained during a knife attack by an Afghan national in the south-western city of Mannheim last Friday.

German authorities have so far been reluctant to send back Syrians and Afghans whose asylum claims were rejected in view of the dire security situation in both countries.

But the mood in Germany has hardened significantly in the wake of the Mannheim attack, which has dominated the last days of campaigning for the European elections. The far-right Alternative for Germany party has seized on the attack to criticise what it sees as the government’s lax immigration policies.

The suspected perpetrator is a 25-year-old man who came to Germany from Afghanistan as a teenager in 2013. His initial asylum claim was rejected, but he subsequently married a German national and was allowed to stay. Authorities said he had integrated well into German society but media reports suggested he had built up ties to Islamist groups.

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Scholz said the interior ministries of Germany’s 16 states were exploring “legally and practically sustainable ways” to allow authorities to deport convicted criminals and terrorism suspects to Afghanistan.

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