No prison for asylum seekers: Germany needs to improve detention pending deportation

No prison for asylum seekers
Germany needs to improve the detention center

According to German law, rejected asylum seekers can be housed in normal prisons for up to three years. With a few exceptions, this is inadmissible, judge experts from the ECJ. You criticize a violation of EU law.

Germany will probably have to improve its regulations on detention for rejected asylum seekers. A judicial legal expert at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg explained that asylum seekers who are obliged to leave the country can be accommodated in a normal prison for up to three years if necessary, is too long and also insufficiently justified.

The ECJ is not bound by this for its judgment, but it follows these so-called Opinions in the vast majority of cases. Rejected asylum seekers who are obliged to leave the country can be arrested so that they do not go into hiding. According to EU law, however, they are not allowed to be housed with normal prisoners.

This is to prevent them from being treated like criminals and exposed to the appropriate conditions of detention. In an urgent emergency, however, exceptions are possible. The German Aliens Act allows such exceptions for up to three years. The deportation prisoners then have to be separated from the regular prisoners in the prison.

Pakistani complains about detention conditions

In this specific case, a Pakistani defends himself against his deportation detention. He is housed in the Hanover correctional facility, Langenhagen department. This is inadmissible. The so-called Advocate General at the ECJ, Jean Richard de la Tour, now expressed doubts about the duration of the German exception. An emergency presupposes an urgency and thus rapid intervention. This is no longer fulfilled after a period of three years.

In addition, in the Aliens Act, Germany must more precisely define the conditions under which asylum seekers who are obliged to leave the country are permitted to be housed in a prison. In Langenhagen, the Pakistani was housed with other rejected asylum seekers in a building in which no prisoners were kept. In the opinion of the Advocate General, however, it is not a “special detention facility” – as the asylum seekers are guarded there by the prison staff and are subject to the legal regulations of the prison.

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