Germany Deports Islamic Radical | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 13.10.2004
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Germany Deports Islamic Radical

German officials deported Metin Kaplan, the leader of an Islamic fundamentalist group to Turkey on Tuesday after a Cologne court ruled he didn't have the right to remain in Germany during his appeal.

Metin Kaplan is now in the hands of Turkish security forces

Metin Kaplan is now in the hands of Turkish security forces

Kaplan arrived in Turkey afer being escorted on to a private plane at Düsseldorf airport late Tuesday afternoon.

Calling the deportation a "symbol for a robust democracy," German Interior Minister Otto Schily welcomed the move and added that similar cases should be decided faster in the future.

"The state has made it clear that someone who opposes the rule of law and the constitution has no place in our country," Schily told reporters. While Kaplan still has two weeks to appeal the deportation to a higher court, the minister said he considered the case closed.

Immediately after Tuesday's Cologne court ruling that Kaplan's appeal before a federal court in Leipzig did not justify his continued residency in Germany, city officials had made it clear that they intended to act swiftly on the court's decision.

"We plan to deport him today," Cologne's city spokeswoman, Inge Schürmann, told reporters. A higher court could have stopped the process but apparently failed to do so.

Der fliegende Kalif

A private Lear jet, allegedly transporting Turkish Islamic militant Metin Kaplan, leaves a hangar at Düsseldorf International airport on Tuesday.

The Cologne judges found that Kaplan, the self-appointed "Caliph of Cologne" can be seen as an "identity figure for Islamic extremism," making it necessary to end his residency in Germany.

Kaplan received a deportation order in May. His application for asylum in Germany was rejected in 2003 after he served prison time for inciting his followers to murder one of his rivals.

Germany has banned his Caliphate State group, which calls for the overthrow of Turkey's secular government.

In May, Kaplan escaped arrest by police after the ruling by disappearing for several days. A federal court then granted him an appeal to stay in Germany. He has been required to report to the police every week.

Kaplan faces treason charges in Turkey and has been resisting deportation by arguing that he would face torture in his native country.

He is accused of masterminding a failed 1998 plot to crash a plane laden with explosives into the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern secular Turkish state.

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