Olaf Scholz wants to deport serious criminals to Afghanistan and Syria

Olaf Scholz wants to deport serious criminals to Afghanistan and Syria

Chancellor Olaf Scholz makes a clear statement following the fatal knife attack on a police officer in Mannheim. This has sparked a debate about deporting criminals.

As a consequence of the deadly knife attack in Mannheim, Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants to make it possible to deport serious criminals to Afghanistan and Syria again. “Such criminals should be deported – even if they come from Syria and Afghanistan,” said the SPD politician in the Bundestag on Thursday. “Serious criminals and terrorist threats have no place here.”

The Chancellor did not say in his government statement how exactly he intends to make this possible. The Federal Ministry of the Interior is working on the practical implementation and is already in talks with Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries.

We will no longer tolerate the glorification and celebration of terrorist crimes. “We will therefore tighten our deportation regulations so that the commission of terrorist crimes will result in a serious interest in deportation,” said the Chancellor. “Anyone who glorifies terrorism is going against all of our values ​​and should be deported.”

Tightening of criminal law also planned

As a further consequence of the knife attack, Scholz announced a tightening of criminal law. Anyone who attacks women and men who want to help and save lives from behind or lures them into ambushes must feel the full force of the law. “To this end, we will specifically tighten criminal law and impose harsher punishments for such underhanded attacks.” The possibility of designating weapon and knife-free zones must also be used more consistently.

Last Friday, an Afghan man injured five participants in a rally of the anti-Islam movement Pax Europa and a police officer with a knife in Mannheim. The officer later died of his injuries. The attack sparked a debate about relaxing the ban on deportations to Afghanistan.

Since the radical Islamist Taliban seized power in Kabul in August 2021, Germany has not sent anyone back to Afghanistan. Even before that, because of the already difficult security situation at the time, it had been agreed that only men – and above all criminals and so-called terrorist threats – would be brought to Kabul under duress.

Olaf Scholz: “We declare war on terror”

Scholz now wants to return to this regulation. “The fatal knife attack on a young police officer is an expression of a misanthropic ideology, of radical Islamism,” he said. “There is only one term for this: terror. We are declaring war on terror.” The Chancellor argued that when it comes to serious criminals and terrorist threats, Germany’s security interests outweigh the perpetrator’s interest in protecting them.

Government statement: Scholz wants to deport serious criminals to Afghanistan and Syria

Three lessons from the Mannheim knife attack


Last December, the Conference of Interior Ministers (IMK) of the federal and state governments had already criticized the fact that serious criminals and dangerous individuals from countries such as Syria and Afghanistan cannot be deported to their countries of origin. It asked the Federal Ministry of the Interior to look for solutions before the IMK spring meeting on June 19. Results are to be presented then.

Deportation by plane would require cooperation with the Taliban rulers in Kabul or the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, who is responsible for the worst human rights violations. As Scholz said in his speech, repatriation via neighboring countries is now being considered.

Greens are skeptical

However, the Greens, one of the SPD’s two coalition partners, is skeptical as to whether the deportations are really possible. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) fears that deported Islamists could also plan terrorist attacks from there. In the debate on the government statement, Green Party leader Britta Haßelmann said: “People who commit serious crimes must be deported after serving their sentence.” But she added that it must be continuously checked for all countries of origin whether the security situation allows deportations.

CDU/CSU parliamentary group leader Friedrich Merz demanded that Scholz act quickly and decisively. “The time for warning and condemning, for downplaying and making announcements is now over,” said the CDU chairman in his response to the government statement. “People expect us to act. They expect decisions. They are waiting for a clear, unequivocal answer from politicians.”

Around 13,000 Afghans in Germany who are required to leave the country

At the end of April, according to the Central Register of Foreigners, 13,396 Afghans who were required to leave the country were living in Germany, but 11,666 of them had a so-called tolerated stay, meaning they could not be deported at short notice, for example because they were missing papers or for health reasons. Of the 10,026 Syrians who were recorded in the register as being required to leave the country, 8,914 were tolerated.

Note: This article has been updated with additional information.

Source: Stern

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