Saxony: Deporting a Russian family Despite Church Asylum

The Lower Saxony state authority deported a Russian refugee family despite church asylum. According to the Ministry of the Interior and the State Reception Service of Saxony, the family, which consisted of a couple, an adult boy and a girl, was deported.

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees had examined the personal circumstances of the family members, and there was no case of hardship.

Tobias Hayden, the priest of the Diocese of Beninbüttel, criticized the deportation of the family that took refuge in the church. He stated, “We were shocked by the actions of the state admissions authority.”

He described the attack on the family, their arrest, and the disregard for church asylum as extremely frightening.

The family had entered Germany via Spain, and applied for asylum there. The Immigration Authority transferred the family to Spain, which agreed to readmit them.

According to the municipality, the family, which includes an adult son and a 16-year-old girl, entered Germany on a Spanish visa, and that the family was on its way to visit relatives when they received a summons for the father and son to return to their place of residence in Russia. The family applied for asylum in Germany so that the father and son would not participate in the Russian war on Ukraine. As for the mother, she became seriously ill because of the psychological pressure and needed medical treatment. Despite the all circumstances the family is going through, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees rejected the asylum request.

The family had taken refuge in the Olsen Church, where both the dean and deacon responsible for the church office for social work, examine the asylum application to the Church and consider it reasonable, due to the mother’s health condition and the presence of a positive diagnosis for integration into the family.

The father and son received job offers, the daughter enrolled in secondary school, and the church notified the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees of the church asylum of the family.

The Refugee Council of Lower Saxony also criticized the deportation, where all state governments have abstained from forced admission to church asylums since 1998. This deportation is the first violation of church asylum since that date.

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