A German court has sided with state authorities who cut benefits to a Cameroon national after the man refused to help clear bureaucratic hurdles for his deportation. The man's asylum request was rejected 13 years ago.
The migrant should only be provided with "bare necessities" to ensure his survival, the Federal Social Welfare Court in Kassel said on Friday.
The 49-year-old Cameroonian traveled to Germany in 2002 and applied for asylum, but his demand was rejected in 2004. German authorities then tried to deport him, but the procedure stalled because he did not have a valid passport. The man apparently refused to cooperate with the authorities who tried to get him a new passport, and refused to speak when taken to the Cameroonian Embassy.
According to the court, German officials urged the man to cooperate on getting the papers at least 19 times. When he ignored these appeals, authorities initially reduced and eventually canceled his monthly allowance of 135 euros ($147), while still providing him with vouchers for food and accommodation.
Guideline for many more
The rejected asylum seeker, who is based in the eastern German state of Brandenburg, decided to take the matter to the social welfare court and demand his allowance be reinstated. After his motion was denied by the judges in Cottbus, he appealed to the federal court in Kassel.
On Friday, judges ruled that cutting the monthly allowance based on the migrant's behavior was not illegal.
While the decision is not binding for all courts in Germany, it will likely serve as a guideline for similar cases in the future. German activists say that each of Germany's 16 states currently has its own rules on sanctioning rejected asylum seekers.
Germany took in over a million of asylum seekers in 2015 alone. The repatriation procedure has proven to be long and complicated, as many newcomers traveled with no valid documents or gave false statements about their countries of origin.
dj/kms (dpa, epd)