A court in Gelsenkirchen has ruled that deporting a self-declared Islamist — suspected of being a bodyguard of the former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden — was “grossly unlawful” and ordered him returned to Germany.
The case has cast a spotlight on the dysfunctional nature of Germany’s deportation system, as well as on Germany’s politicized judicial system, which on human rights grounds is making it nearly impossible to expel illegal migrants, including those who pose security threats.
The 42-year-old failed asylum seeker from Tunisia — identified by German authorities as Sami A., but known in his native country as Sami Aidoudi — had been living in Germany since 1997. Aidoudi, a Salafist Islamist, is believed by German authorities to have spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan before the al-Qaeda attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001. Since then, he was under surveillance by German intelligence for propagating Islamist teachings and attempting to radicalize young Muslims. He had “far reaching” relationships with Salafist and jihadist networks, according to an official report leaked to the German newsmagazine, Focus.
Aidoudi’s asylum request was rejected in 2007 after allegations surfaced that he had undergone military training at an al-Qaeda jihadi camp in Afghanistan between 1999 and 2000. During his training, he had allegedly worked as a bodyguard for Osama bin-Laden. Aidoudi denied the charges and claimed to have been studying during that time in Karachi, Pakistan.