Allgemein, news

Victory for Alassa Mfouapon in Stuttgart’s administrative court on the issue of the police operation in the state arrival centre of Ellwangen in 2018 – English translation of the post from 07.04.2021

The administrative court decided in favour of Alassa Mfouapon on his lawsuit against the state of Baden-Württemberg. The fight for the fundamental rights of refugees however continues.

In 2018, a Togolese man was to be deported to Italy. The police took him handcuffed from his room. This measure sparked a loud but peaceful protest. The two officers got scared and left, leaving the man from Togo standing there in handcuffs. It was an hour before a security contractor took them off him. The handcuffs, which could not be found after this, are the only damage incurred by this rebellious situation in Ellwangen.

The lawyer Frank Jasenski reports: “Our client was being housed in this state arrival centre at the time where he engaged in activities such as translation, was in contact with social institutions and was one of the speakers for refugees in the centre. One of his goals in this lawsuit was to have the police actions against him during this operation determined as illegal. It was clear immediately after the failed deportation that an operation was to take place. Our documents reveal that the first step taken was to order food provisions for police officers involved in the operation. When food had been ordered, a legal basis was searched for. As no legal grounds for a raid could be determined, the state arrival centre was simply declared a ‘dangerous location’ at which such raids are always allowed. In our view this is clearly a criminal offense.

The police then engaged all their most expensive equipment: Special Action Commandoes (SEK), helicopters, police dogs, around 500 officers. They arrived around 5 am. The doors to a third of the 120 rooms were broken open with battering rams, allowing the police to enter with brute force. The inhabitants were surprised in their sleep, several of them jumped out of the windows in panic.

The administrative court has declared all police actions against our client – the forced entry into his room, the physical constraint, the search of his person and of his room – unlawful, as none of them were proportional or necessary. The court however did not uphold our line of argument stating that these measures were already unlawful simply because the refugees’ rooms should be protected living spaces in accordance with the constitution.”

In the circle of friends of refugees within the group “Solidarity international”, refugees fight for their rights side by side with other people acting out of solidarity. Besides the direct support of court cases, they have created awareness for the full extent of the inhumane refugee policies through protests. In their press statement they wrote: “The verdict states that the police operation, as far as it concerns the claimant Alassa Mfouapon, was unlawful. But as all inhabitants of the state arrival centre were treated similarly on this night, common sense would dictate that the entire operation was unlawful.”

But as there are few places in Germany where basic human and constitutional rights are valued as little as in refugee housing, our fight must continue here, too. Nevertheless, the verdict is a great success. Minister of the interior Horst Seehofer placed himself at the head of a horrific hate campaign at the time and spoke of a “slap in the face of all law-abiding citizens”. The administrative court has now determined that the operation was in fact a slap in the face of every refugee. The police acted unlawfully.

For us as the BgA it is clear that we must continue our fight on all levels. The state will continue to try and execute its deportations smoothly and without disturbance and to smother any resistance from the outset.

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