German Taxi Drivers Protest Smuggling Allegations | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 10.01.2008
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German Taxi Drivers Protest Smuggling Allegations

German taxi drivers protested the arrest of a German driver who is in a Danish jail on human smuggling charges after he transported Afghan passengers across the border.

Taxi

German taxi drivers are up in arms about the treatment of one of their number

A German taxi driver sits in jail in Denmark on charges of transporting Afghan passengers without identity papers over the border into Denmark.

"The Danes are treating him like a big league criminal," said Frank Hofeditz, chief of the company that employs the arrested driver.

The drivers blocked the border road for a short time on Thursday, Jan. 10.

Asylum seekers wait at the Frankfurt Airport

Germany has strict asylum laws

The driver is in jail in Apenrade, Denmark, while awaiting a Jan. 21 court date. He claimed he was flagged down on the street in Flensburg, Germany's northernmost city. The passengers hired him for a long-distance fare to Copenhagen.

The Danish capital is a waystation for illegal immigrants who arrive in southern Europe and then head north. Their ultimate destination is often Sweden, which has liberal political asylum rules.

The taxi was pulled over by a Danish patrol near the border.

Flensburg officials said taxi drivers in the city were put in a difficult legal situation. Taxis are obliged by German law to carry everyone who flags them down. Chamber of Commerce officials advised drivers to demand that northbound passengers show they had the proper paperwork to legally enter Denmark. The border is open and locals drive across it without having to go through a border check.

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