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Germany to bring back mistakenly deported Afghan migrant

July 18, 2018

German authorities have admitted to wrongfully deporting an Afghan asylum seeker while his appeal was still ongoing. Germany's migration office said it was taking steps to assure the 20-year-old's return.

Deutschland Flüchtlinge Protest gegen Abschiebung
Young men from Afghanistan gather near the Federal Office for Migrants and Refugees in BerlinImage: Getty Images/S. Gallup

Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) admitted on Wednesday that it had wrongfully deported a 20-year-old Afghan asylum seeker and that it was taking "the necessary steps" to ensure his timely return.

Nasibullah S. was deported along with 68 other Afghans back to Kabul earlier this month, although the legal proceedings surrounding his case for asylum were ongoing.

The 20-year-old's initial asylum request was rejected in April last year, although a decision on his appeal before an administrative court in the German town of Greifswald was still to be taken.

BAMF said it was in contact with Nasibullah S.'s legal counsel, the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, where the 20-year-old lived, and the German embassy in Kabul.

Living with the threat of deportation

Earlier on Wednesday, Germany's Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that there had "evidently been an administrative error by the BAMF authorities," adding that he would "always ensure that law and order are observed." 

Seehofer last month provoked a government crisis over his controversial "migration master plan," as well as by insisting, despite Merkel's opposition, that Bavaria be allowed to reject migrants at its Austrian border.

BAMF mistakes

According to the regional interior ministry in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the BAMF office had initially assumed that Nasibullah S. had filed his appeal too late, because it had not heard back on his case from local authorities in Neubrandenburg, where the 20-year-old had been living in a migrant shelter.

However, his lawyer, Sonja Steffen said the young man had already filed an appeal against the rejection last year. This was also confirmed by the administrative court in Greifswald.

Read more: Opinion: Germany's deportation policy shakes the public trust

BAMF officials admitted that the unlawful deportation could have been prevented if the "responsible field office had reacted to the relevant information from the administrative court (...) and re-examined the facts of the case."

The federal migration office also said that the asylum seeker's appeals process would likely be extended.

It is not the first time Germany has brought back refugees from Afghanistan. Last December, the administration court in Sigmaringen also ruled that a deported Afghan asylum seeker be returned to Germany as his application was still pending. The man had fought alongside US troops in Afghanistan and therefore feared persecution from the Taliban. He was subsequently granted permanent asylum.

On Tuesday, news broke that a court in Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, had ruled that the deportation of Sami A, an alleged ex-bodyguard of Osama bin Laden, must be reversed and he must be brought back to Germany. The man had been shipped back to his native Tunisia last week from the city of Dusseldorf.

dm/jm (dpa, AFP)

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