Annual Report: Germany 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Germany 2011

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  • Khaled Kenjo, a Syrian Kurd who was forcibly returned to Syria in 2009 and subsequently detained and sentenced to a short prison term for "spreading abroad false information that could harm the reputation of the [Syrian] state", was allowed to return to Germany in July and was granted refugee status.
  • Eritrean nationals Yonas Haile Mehari and Petros Aforki Mulugeta, who had been forcibly returned to Eritrea in 2008, returned to Germany in April and June respectively after they had been granted refugee status in 2009 in their absence.

Counter-terror and security

In February, a UN study on secret detention concluded that Germany was complicit in the secret detention of German-Syrian national Muhammad Zammar, who was unlawfully transferred to Syria in December 2001. Evidence before a parliamentary inquiry held from 2006 to 2009 confirmed that German agents had interrogated him in Syria in November 2002 and had also sent questions to the Syrian authorities for use in his interrogation. However, the June 2009 parliamentary inquiry report concluded that the German authorities were not complicit in any human rights violations related to this case. The authorities have since refused to commit to a new investigation into their role in renditions.

The government confirmed that it would continue to rely on "diplomatic assurances" to allegedly mitigate the danger of torture and other ill-treatment when returning people to their country of origin.

  • In May, the High Administrative Court in North Rhine-Westphalia confirmed the 2009 decision of the Administrative Court in Düsseldorf that, in the case of a Tunisian national suspected of terrorism-related activities, the use of "diplomatic assurances" undermined the absolute ban on torture. As a result, his forcible return to Tunisia was not allowed.
  • On 16 September, a stateless Palestinian and a Syrian national, both released from Guantánamo Bay, received protection in the Hamburg and the Rhineland-Palatinate federal states respectively. The Federal Minister of the Interior announced that no more former detainees from Guantánamo Bay would be given protection by Germany.
  • On 7 December, the Cologne Administrative Court dismissed a case brought by German national Khaled El-Masri. He had called on Germany to reconsider its decision not to pursue the extradition of 13 US nationals suspected of transferring him illegally to Afghanistan in 2004. The Court argued that the government acted lawfully, since Khaled El-Masri's request was assessed against Germany's national security and foreign policy interests. Khaled El-Masri appealed against the verdict.