A court in Germany has ruled that the recent deportation to Tunisia of a failed asylum seeker — an Islamist suspected of being a bodyguard for the former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden — was unlawful and that, at taxpayer expense, he must be immediately returned to Germany.
The ruling has cast yet another spotlight on the dysfunctional nature of Germany’s deportation system, as well as on Germany’s politicized judicial system, one in which activist judges are now engaged in a power struggle with elected officials who want to speed up deportations.
On August 15, the North Rhine-Westphalian Higher Administrative Court (Oberverwaltungsgericht, OVG) in Münster said that immigration authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany’s most populous state, deliberately deceived the courts in the run-up to the deportation of Sami Aidoudi, who had been illegally living in Germany for more than a decade.
The court ordered federal authorities to issue a visa for Aidoudi — referred to in Germany as Sami A. for privacy reasons — to facilitate his return to Germany. The court also ordered Bochum, a city in NRW where Aidoudi lived until his deportation, to pay for his flight back to Germany.
It remains unclear how officials in Bochum can comply with the order, as Tunisian officials have repeatedly said that they have no intention of returning him to Germany.