Detention pending deportation is not a punishment, emphasise members of the Left Party after two Algerians managed to flee from a detention centre. Meanwhile, right-wingers are calling for a „manhunt“.
After the successful escape of two rejected asylum seekers from deportation detention in Dresden, the authorities want to examine tightening up the prison. This was stated by the president of the Saxony state directorate, Regina Kraushaar, at a press conference on Monday afternoon. A new regulation from September, according to which inmates are allowed to enter corridors, showers and common rooms at night, could be reversed, she said.
On Sunday night, two Algerians escaped from the facility on Hamburger Straße, barely half an hour behind each other. The 30 and 31 year old men allegedly opened a window on the first floor of the accommodation and roped themselves down to the outside area with bed sheets. There they are said to have climbed over a three-metre high fence, which was secured with so-called NATO wire. It is questionable how the men were able to open the window without a special key, Kraushaar explained. For this reason, the criminal police is also investigating on suspicion of prisoner liberation.
The deportation prison on the outskirts of the city centre is guarded by a private security service, which only noticed the escape three hours later. A triggered alarm had been „manually pushed away“ several times. Kraushaar therefore spoke of considerable mistakes in the surveillance. This, too, is now the subject of the investigation. The alarm system had recently been increasingly ignored due to frequent false alarms.
Clara Bünger, a member of the Bundestag for the Left Party, told „nd“ that the incident should „under no circumstances be used to tighten the conditions in detention pending deportation again and to subject the detainees to even more control and surveillance“. In her view, it would be better to abolish detention pending deportation. „It is unacceptable to imprison people for the sole reason of making it easier to deport them,“ said the Left Party’s spokesperson on refugee policy.
This is also the view of Cornelia Ernst, MEP, who has her electoral district in Dresden and is responsible for asylum and migration issues in Brussels: „The fatal system of deportations and detention pending deportation must be abolished,“ Ernst told „nd“. Together with other Saxon MPs of the Left Party, she had visited the Dresden deportation prison in autumn.
A year ago, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on the accommodation of rejected asylum seekers in Germany and affirmed that they should not be locked up in prison-like facilities. In the case of accommodation together with prisoners, for example due to capacity problems, a detention judge must examine whether this is actually necessary.
„Detention pending deportation is not a criminal detention, and escaping from this is not a criminal offence either,“ Jule Nagel, a member of the Leipzig state parliament for the Left Party, emphasised in response to a question. If the Saxon state government is now thinking about tightening the enforcement of detention, it is disregarding the case law of the ECJ, she said. This is hardly implemented anyway. Nagel complains that instead there are „regulated yard hours of a maximum of one hour, barred windows that cannot be opened, a compound fenced in with barbed wire and under video surveillance, and supervised visiting rooms“. She sees also missing a presence counselling time by the independent Deportation Detention Contact Group in Saxony.
The facility on Hamburger Straße is said to have housed twelve rejected asylum seekers at last count. The facility is supposed to have a total of 58 places in detention pending deportation. In January 2020, three rejected asylum seekers had already escaped from there. One of them was an expectant father; his wife suffered premature labour during a visit. The Deportation Detention Contact Group had drawn attention to this in a press release.
Meanwhile, the tiny right-wing extremist party Freie Sachsen is using the incident for its racist propaganda. They have taken „manhunt measures“, they announced on their Telegram account with more than 150,000 followers. Clara Bünger demands that Interior Minister Armin Schuster (CDU) and the police stop this „despicable“ call for vigilante justice. The Saxony police announced on Twitter that they had saved screenshots and forwarded them to the Dresden police department.
One of the security personnel is also said to be involved in right-wing activities and to have taken part in conspiracy-ideological demonstrations, photojournalists from the Vue.critique network also report on Twitter. He allegedly attacked a cameraman outside the deportation prison at the weekend.
Published in German in „nd“.
Image: Detention prison in Dresden (Abschiebehaftkontaktgruppe).
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