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Security personnel check asylum-seekers at the entrance to the office of BAMF in Trier. Asylum applications are made at the offices of the agency /Photo: Screenshot/ARD

Germany: Man on trial for aiding refugees to avoid deportation

A man has been charged to the Aschaffenburg district court on Thursday (16 July) for having called for the commission of a criminal offence on a website on the subject of “citizen asylum”. The accused man from Hanau is listed as the person responsible in the imprint of the website, as the court and public prosecutor’s office confirmed on Wednesday.

A call was made on the website to grant “citizen asylum” to refugees threatened with deportation; that is, refugees should be accommodated in the homes of their helpers, if necessary hidden there.

According to the website’s operators, they see themselves as a campaign against an “inhuman deportation system”. The “social intervention” in the form of civil disobedience is “required by human rights” for as long as it takes for the deportations end, the website said.

According to the public prosecutor’s office, the accused, being the person responsible for the website, has thus called for the commission of criminal acts. This is an official offence under Section 111 of the Criminal Code, which states that whoever “incites the commission of an unlawful act incurs the same penalty as an abettor”. Even though there is no proof to suggest that the man actually provided shelter to any failed asylum-seekers himself, he is being tried in the same manner under laws equating incitement to criminal offences to committing criminal offences.

The accused faces up to five years imprisonment or a fine if convicted. 

Austin Ohaegbu

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