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German police tried to deport pregnant, hospitalized woman

November 2, 2018

Officers in the city of Mainz have been criticized for moving the sick woman from her hospital bed during the night. The hospital has disputed claims from city authorities that they had given permission to move her.

University clinic in Mainz
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Probst

A dozen activists groups and NGOs condemned police in the German city of Mainz on Friday following revelations that a pregnant Iranian woman was ripped from her hospital bed in the middle of the night because of a deportation order.

In an open letter, the signatories describe uniformed police ambushing the woman on the night of October 17. The 29-year-old was at the Mainz University Clinic receiving treatment for gestational diabetes, which if left unchecked can lead to pre-eclampsia or stillbirth.

The letter called the deployment of at least 10 police officers to one woman's hospital bed a "completely disproportionate" response.

The officers "have considerably increased the physical and mental health risk to the mother and her unborn child."

"We demand an explanation for this inhumane behavior," said the letter published by the Refugee Council of Rhineland-Palatinate, the state that has Mainz as its capital.

Clinic disputes police version of events

City officials said that they had been told by hospital staff that the woman was able to travel. The clinic, however, not only disputes this claim but has openly criticized how the officers handled the situation.

Permission for the woman's "ability to travel was neither requested by the authorities nor granted by the university medical center," a spokeswoman said. She also said that the scene caused by the police created "a very stressful situation for the affected patient, other patients and employees."

The woman, her husband and their 1-year-old son had their request for asylum rejected by Germany in July. They were set to be deported to Croatia, because that is the first EU country where they applied for asylum.

According to local media reports, a first attempt at deporting the family in September was canceled after the family resisted the order. The father is still in deportation detention in nearby Ingelheim. His wife and son were moved to a neighboring refugee accommodation facility after the ordeal at the Mainz hospital.

The Mainz immigration office will now consider further steps with advice from the state Integration Ministry. District administrator Dorothea Schäfer of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), said "it is clear that we must comply with the law and have done so far."

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Elizabeth Schumacher
Elizabeth Schumacher Elizabeth Schumacher reports on gender equity, immigration, poverty and education in Germany.
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