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june 2000 

Deportation at any price

33.000 deportations a year. This is the success story of the Bundesgrenzschutzes (BGS - Federal Security Protection) for 1999. Germany thus holds a sad European record. People are deported into war and civil-war zones and into countries that practice torture, such as Algeria, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iran. Any means seems to be legitimate in order to impose deportations.

Pro Asyl, spring 2000: »The only measure is usually: Has the deportee survived the flight? The diagnosis of a medical doctor of the health authorities for instance made note of a dysfuntion requiring treatment that would, in case of deportation, accentuate the symptoms of fear and the danger of suicide of the deportee. He proposed not to refraining from deporting this person, but to prescribe him psychoactive drugs. Another recommendation - that little time go by between the deportation order and the actual deportation, and that the person concerned be monitored permanently so that a suicide would not be successful.«

In order to impose an effective practice of deportations, there is a need for a high level of specialization and interdepartmental cooperation, but also for a sick imagination and cold-heartedness of the staff involved, from the Ministries of Interior, the migration authorities, the BGS, the health departments and the airlines.

Lufthansa with its numerous direct flights into almost all regions of the world plays an important role in deportations. Out of 32.922 foreigners who have been deported according to the BGS in 1999, Lufthansa according to their own statistics flew 10'000 out of the country. About 90 percent of the deportees in airline carriers are not accompanied. Even though the BGS makes sure that the deportee gets on the plane, the persons concerned are considered as passive. It is true that many fly »out of their own free will«, because otherwise they remain in deportation detention. For security reasons only up to five unaccompanied deportees may be on any one flight. Around 9'000 police officers have flown along with deportees considered potentially dangerous - according to official statistics these are about 10 percent of the deportees. Until recently it was quite usual to break their resistence with such means as tranquilizers, gags and adhesive tape. The Ministry of Interior reacted to the public criticism of this brutal practice of deportations and ordered the BGS to refrain from using these devices. The use of foot- and handcuffs and physical violence by accompanying officers is however still sanctioned by the ministry and the airline companies. Ill-treatment - even the death of Kola Bankole and Mohamed Amir Ageeb - have not had consequences for the persons responsible.