Lawyers say decision to return 26-year-old contradicts governments own rules on removals
The German government has been accused of breaking its own rules on removing Afghan asylum seekers with a decision to deport a 26-year-old who fears he will be killed if returned.
The man, who the Guardian is not naming, is due to be flown out of Germany on Wednesday to a country he has not set foot in since he was five years old.
The case has focused attention on Germanys acceleration of deportations, which have doubled over the past year. In all, 78 people are due to be deported on Wednesday.
Amnesty has accused Germany and other European countries of breaking international law by returning asylum seekers to Afghanistan at a time when civilian casualties in the country are at their highest for years.
The deportation is part of a controversial policy in which male Afghan asylum seekers can be returned if they have been convicted of crimes or are considered to be dangerous suspects. They can also be sent back if they refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities to clarify their identities.
However, lawyers defending the man say that he does not fall into any of these categories. He is not a criminal, is not being observed as a potential terrorist and has cooperated in giving his identification papers, said Philipp Pruy, an immigration lawyer from BC Legal Lawyers who is handling the case. He is unfairly and callously being sent back but he has not committed a crime and he has cooperated in making sure the government can identify who he is.
They only told him one week ago that he would be deported. He fears his life could be in danger.
The man, whose asylum application has been rejected and who has lived in Bayreuth, Bavaria, since 2011, told the Guardian that he was stressed at the prospect of leaving and returning to a country he had not been to since the age of five.
I left and went to Iran then and it was when they tried to deport me and send me back to Afghanistan that I fled for Germany, he says. I am afraid because I think someone will kill me in Afghanistan. My father was part of the group who fought against the Taliban.
Pruy says he hopes to stop the deportation before Wednesday and is appealing against the decision as an emergency case. In my opinion, it is illegal because it is against what the federal government told us in August this year, that people would only be deported in exceptional circumstances.
The lawyer fears that his client may be being penalised because the Bavarian government wants to show it is taking a hard stance on refugees. Each state can chose how it applies the governments deportation policy.
Deportations to Afghanistan are controversial in Germany, with refugee charities arguing that the country is not safe given ongoing conflicts between the Afghan government and the Taliban. The United Nations reports that there were a record number of civilian casualties in 2016.
According to the news organisation Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND), the number of people deported back to Afghanistan has nearly doubled in recent years, from 145 at the end of June 2016 to 282 at the end of June 2017.
Ramin Mohabat, a journalist, is another refugee from Afghanistan whose asylum application was rejected, although this decision was reversed on appeal. He is campaigning against the planned deportations, which he says are causing tension among Afghans in Germany.
The fear is very big in the community at the moment as there are not safe places in Afghanistan and people are very scared of being deported, he says. My message to the German government is that they need to say stop playing with peoples lives and stop the deportations because I know everyone being deported now is in danger of their life and having been all over Afghanistan I know all about all the conflicts happening at the moment.
The biggest problem is the Taliban but also Islamic State now and in every city there is different armed groups that just do what they want to do.
The Bavarian ministry that deals with immigration refused to comment, saying it could not give detailed information about deportations before they happened.
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