A drama unfolded in the German city of Darmstadt this month, where a Syrian migrant sought asylum inside a church to prevent himself from being deported back to Malta under the EU’s Dublin II Regulation.
The Syrian refugee, holed up inside the Matthäuskirche Evangelical Church in Darmstadt since 4 August for fear of being deported back to Malta, was persecuted for homosexuality and imprisoned in Lebanon.
That was before the 35-year-old man, identified only as ‘Abderrahman G.’, made it to Malta on a 12-metre inflatable boat with around another 100 passengers.
He then managed to make his way from Malta to Germany, but under the EU’s Dublin II Regulation, he was to be sent back to Malta for his asylum process because it was the first EU member state he entered.
A month-long legal process ensued throughout July, resulting in the Syrian deportation order to Malta on 2 August. On 4 August, he sought asylum in the church.
Around 200 people gathered in front of the Darmstadt church yesterday morning with banners reading, among other things, ‘Protection for everyone’ and ‘No one is illegal’.
They demanded the Syrian be allowed to stay in Germany rather than be sent back to Malta, where he faces detention “in degrading conditions”, according to protesters.
Even Darmstadt Mayor Hanno Benz emphasised Wednesday that the city categorically rejected attempted deportations and is committed to church asylum.
There were no such dramatic scenes, and the authorities only checked if the Syrian was still in the church.
They informed the Syrian he was longer under any imminent threat of deportation to Malta. The six-month period during which the German authorities could have transferred the Syrian to Malta under the Dublin III regulation had expired. Germany will now handle the case.