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4 Aug, 2019 14:29

Broken wrists and hematomas: Dozens of police officers hurt deporting migrants in Germany last year

Broken wrists and hematomas: Dozens of police officers hurt deporting migrants in Germany last year

Foreigners slated for deportation in Germany punch and kick police officers, engage in “rehearsed” violence, and even bite off their own tongues just to avoid being sent home, a new report reveals.

Last year, 284 officers were attacked while carrying out deportations, and 71 of them were injured, German paper Welt am Sonntag reported on Sunday, citing the Federal Police.

The assaults happened during incidents related to deportation flights, for which the Federal Police is responsible. In 2017, some 274 officers were attacked while trying to deport foreigners.

The police did not specify the severity of the officers’ injuries, and the report did not provide a detailed breakdown of the circumstances in which they were inflicted. In one recent case, an officer in Munich fell and broke his kneecap after a 26-year-old migrant from Sierra Leone slated for deportation had “panicked” on airstairs.

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In other cases, the deportees acted more violently. Federal police union chief, Ernst Walter, who accompanied people on many deportation flights, told the paper that officers have sustained “kicks, punches and headbutts” during such operations.

One officer said that his colleagues suffered “bruises, hematomas and even broken wrists” on the job. Health hazards also pose a major threat, he noted, since the deportees, some of whom are drug addicts and carry infections, bite the officers. And in one case, a person bit off a piece of his own tongue and then spat blood at the officer who was escorting him.

Not only does the violence endanger the officers, but the deportees have learnt to use “rehearsed biting and kicking” to effectively stall the deportation process, the paper reported. A total of 1,637 deportations were stopped due to “acts of resistance” at airports. Armin Schuster, a senior lawmaker from the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), pointed out that the “aggressive behavior” of the deportees pays off because the airlines and the pilots “far too often” refuse to transport violent passengers.

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Germany has seen an influx of migrants and asylum seekers in recent years. Most arrived from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, entering the country en masse due to lenient migration policies. Chancellor Angela Merkel famously said in 2015 that Germany could “manage” taking in and processing large numbers of migrants. Some of them stayed, avoiding being sent home.

According to government figures cited by German media, around 23,600 rejected asylum seekers were deported in 2018. During the same time period, around 31,000 deportations failed for various reasons, mostly due to the absence of travel documents. On top of that, by the end of last year, 236,000 foreigners were living in Germany with the status “required to leave the country,” most of whom are said to be rejected asylum seekers.

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