عدد المساهمات : 37598
تاريخ التسجيل : 21/09/2009
|موضوع: Jan. 09, 2016 Merkel: it should be easier to deport migrants who commit serious crimes Germany will deport m الأحد 10 يناير 2016, 3:23 am|| |
Jan. 09, 2016
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Merkel: it should be easier to deport migrants who commit serious crimes
Germany will deport migrants who break law, warns Angela Merkel as hundreds join anti-Islam protest
After the sex attacks in Cologne, the German Chancellor says that it should be easier to deport migrants who commit serious crimes
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Supporters of anti-immigration right-wing movement PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) take part in in demonstration march, in reaction to mass assaults on women on New Year's Eve, in Cologne Photo: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters
By Justin Huggler, in Cologne
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- Angela Merkel has for the first time signalled a change in her controversial “open-door” refugee policy, as Germany struggles to come to terms with the New Year’s Eve sex attacks in Cologne.
The German chancellor said her government would change the law to make it easier to deport asylum-seekers who commit crimes.
“We have to consider when some one forfeits their right to our hospitality,” Mrs Merkel said. “When crimes are committed, and people place themselves outside the law, there must be consequences.”
It comes as the Pegida anti-Islam movement, which has so far failed to have much impact in Cologne, held a rally outside the main station on Saturday afternoon.
“New Year's Eve at Cologne station has given our country a foretaste of the imminent disintegration of culture and civilization,” Björn Höcke of the Eurosceptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party said on Facebook.
Hundreds of far-right supporters turned out at the rally, chanting "expulsion" and waving banners and signs bearing slogans like "Rapefugees not welcome".
They also took aim at Chancellor Merkel, accusing her of allowing migrants to run rampage in Germany through her liberal stance towards those fleeing war.
"Merkel has become a danger to our country. Merkel must go," a member of Pegida told the crowd, which repeated the call.
Under the current rules, asylum-seekers can only be expelled if they are sentenced to three years or more in prison.
Privately, Mrs Merkel is said to be very disturbed at reports refugees may have been among those who sexually assaulted some 120 women in the heart of Cologne while outnumbered police looked on helplessly.
“I sometimes hear it said I’m happy that so many refugees are coming,” she is reported to have said at a meeting with political allies in Bavaria this week. “I don’t see this as a success of mine.”
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Angela Merkel has back a move to change the law on migrants who commit serious crimes Photo: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
Both critics and supporters of the chancellor are warning the Cologne attacks show the scale of the challenge Germany faces in integrating the 1.1 million asylum-seekers who arrived in the country last year.
Questions are being asked about why it took more than a week for the authorities to acknowledge that asylum-seekers are among the suspects in the attacks, amid claims of a police cover-up.
Bild newspaper has published allegations that police forces around the country are under orders not to report crimes involving refugees to the press.
Das Bild's homepage on Friday nightWolfgang Albers, the Cologne police chief, was removed from his post this week after he repeatedly insisted there was no evidence asylum-seekers were involved.
But Bild quoted a senior police officer in Frankfurt as saying it was standard policy to keep offences by asylum-seekers from the media.
“There are strict orders from the chiefs not to report offences by refugees,” the unnamed officer said. “We are only allowed to answer if journalists ask specifically about such incidents.”
The Frankfurt authorities said police spokesmen had been told to be careful when speaking about asylum-seekers.
“Press spokesmen were warned the far-Right could exploit cases involving refugees to stoke sentiment against those seeking protection,” Michael Shaykh, a spokesman for the Hesse state interior ministry, said.
The newspaper claimed it had evidence of a similar policy in North Rhine-Westphalia, where Cologne lies, and elsewhere in the country.
Many in Germany are asking how such a serious outbreak of sexual assualts in a major European city went unreported by the national press for five days.
Part of the answer appears to lie in a press release issued by the Cologne police on New Year’s Day.
“Relaxed atmosphere: celebrations largely peaceful,” it read. It is now clear that the events of the previous evening were anything but “relaxed” or “peaceful”.
Police appear to have been aware that trouble was brewing as early as 9pm. Spiegel magazine on Saturday published an interview with a senior officer in the Cologne police who said he was told at a briefing about a crowd of some 400 to 500 “drunk and aggressive” men in the square between the main station and the cathedral.
Only 80 police were on duty in the area, despite more being available, the officer told the magazine. At around 10.50pm he arrived at the scene to find the crowd had grown to 1,000 to 1,500, and many were throwing fireworks at people.
The officer was shocked that the crowds took no notice of police. “We were nothing to them, completely irrelevant,” he said.
He heard over the radio that a plainclothes policewoman operating undercover to catch pickpockets had herself been sexually assaulted. Heavily outnumbered uniformed officers had unable to protect her.
Revellers heading into the city centre to see in the New Year found themslves in the middle of this crowd. “Women were forced to run the gauntlet, like you can’t described,” according an internal police report leaked to newspaper this week. Victims have described being groped, beaten and having their underwear torn from their bodies.
Crowds of people outside Cologne Main Station in Cologne on New Year's Eve Photo: EPAIt now appears clear police were aware many of those in the crowd were asylum-seekers. “I am Syrian. You have to treat me kindly. Mrs Merkel invited me,” one of them told officers according to the leaked report. Another tore up his residence permit before officers’ eyes of police, and told them: “You can’t do anything to me, I can get a new one tomorrow”.
Police checked the identity of 71 suspects that night, and the majority were carrying registration documents as asylum-seekers who had recently arrived in Germany, according to a second leaked police report.
At around 11.15pm police decided to clear the area. They encountered heavy resistance and it took 40 minutes. But it appears the worst sexual assaults took place after the clearance, as the crowd moved into the back streets.
At one point during the night, police in the nearby city of Duisburg offered to send reinforcements to help the overwhelmed Cologne force. For reasons that remain unclear, the offer was refused.
More than 170 women have now come forward to file criminal complaints about that night,120 of them for sexual assault.
But in the days that followed, most of Germany had no idea what had happened in the heart of one of its biggest cities, as the events went almost completely unreported.
In fact the truth began to emerge on social media within hours. One of the first accounts was posted on the Facebook page of Nett-Werk Köln, a group of around 140,000 members who more usually share tips on party venues and advertise missing cats.
More information emerged on Twitter, and the local Cologne newspapers began to report the story, but still the national media stayed away. Hans-Peter Freidrich, a former interior minister, has accused the media of imposing a “news blackout” and operating a “code of silence” over negative news about immigrants.
Editors have replied that they were following the official account of the Cologne police that the night had been “peaceful”. But it has also emerged that even after the story hit the national media, guests on public service television were asked not to mention asylum-seekers in interviews about the Cologne assaults.
A week after the incidents, government ministers and the Cologne authorities were still insisting there was no evidence refugees were involved. On Friday, suspicions against then were confirmed for the first time, when the federal police said asylum-seekers are among 31 people it is seeking in connection with events inside the station that night. They are wanted for physical violence and theft, but not for sexual assault.
Now, however, the taboo has been broken, and Mrs Merkel’s critics have seized on the suspected involvement of asylum-seekers as evidence of the failure of her “open-door” refugee policy.
“The pressure generated by the images and stories from Cologne makes business as usual impossible,” Spiegel said. “Even if it were now proved there was not a single refugee from the million of last year among the perpetrators, that wouldn’t change a thing.”
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Police arresting men around the main train station in Cologne earlier in the week Photo: Warren Allott/The Telegraph
More immediately alarming for Mrs Merkel is the criticism from her politcal allies.
“We have to openly and honestly acknowledge that parallel societies have obviously formed and integration doesn’t work everywhere,” Markus Söder,the Bavarian finance minister, said.
Calls are mounting within Mrs Merkel’s own Christian Democrat (CDU) party for a change of course.
“Cologne has changed everything,” Volker Bouffier, the state prime minister of Hesse and a senior figure in the party, said.
“The mood of the party base is at rock bottom,” Carsten Linnemann, a senior MP is reported to have told colleagues at a party meeting. “Cologne shows that if the influx remains so high, integration will not work.”
“Law and order is regularly the number one competence of the CDU in voter surveys.If Merkel cannot deliver a functioning state she will lose votes,” Karl-Rudolf Korte, professor of political science at Duisburg-Cologne university, said.
“Mrs Merkel has recognised the danger,” Philipp Wittrock wrote in Spiegel, “What happened at the New Year has the potentialto change the already tense atmosphere in the country for good, to sow mistrust where there was good will — and to do massive political damage to the chancellor herself.”
“We must check again and again whether we have done everything necessary in regard to deportation from Germany,” Mrs Merkel has said.
But lawyers warn that even if the government makes it easier to deport asylum-seekers, it would still be blocked from returning them to countries such as Syria where their lives would be at risk. Even safer countries of origin could refuse to take their citizens back.
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A flash mob of women protest in the Main Square in Cologne Photo: Warren Allott/Daily Telegraph
Meanwhile reports of new incidents continue to emerge. Four Syrians have been arrested in the southern town of Weil am Rhein for the gang rape of two teenage girls on New Year’s Eve. News of the arrests was not made public until journalists who had received a tip-off pressed police. It has since emerged one of those arrested is a 21-year-old refugee who has been granted asylum in Germany. The other three are teenagers.
In the city of Bielefeld a crowd of 500 men forced their way into a night club and assaulted women on New Year’s Eve, according to Westfalen-Blatt newspaper. It was not clear whether they included asylum-seekers.
In the city of Hamburg, 108 women have now come forward to report assaults and robberies on New Year’s Eve.
And asylum-seekers are still flooding into Europe. The German interior ministry believes another 1m will attempt to cross Turkey to Europe this year, according to Spiegel.