Germany resumes deportations of rejected Afghan asylum seekers

An Afghan refugee, center, deported from Germany is registered by an International Organization for Migration (IOM) member after arriving in Kabul on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 13 September 2017
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Germany resumes deportations of rejected Afghan asylum seekers

KABUL: Eight Afghans expelled from Germany arrived in Kabul on Wednesday as Berlin resumed deportations of rejected asylum seekers from the war-torn country months after suspending the process when a huge truck bomb hit the Afghan capital.
Germany put the controversial expulsions on hold after a sewage tanker packed with explosives detonated near the German Embassy in Kabul’s diplomatic quarter on May 31, killing around 150 people and wounding hundreds more.
The latest group represented the sixth wave of repatriations of Afghans from Germany since December under a disputed Afghan-European Union deal aimed at curbing the influx of migrants.
In Berlin, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere defended the latest deportation, saying that “all eight persons have been convicted of serious crimes,” without specifying the offenses.
De Maiziere said that Germany would stick with its policy of returning to Afghanistan convicted criminals, people feared by police to be planning an attack, and those who refuse to cooperate with authorities or give their names.
After arriving at Kabul airport on a charter flight, the eight deportees were escorted by police to a car park where an official registered their names.
Some of the men carried small backpacks while others had no luggage at all.
“They told me that there is no problem in your country and you can live there so you can’t stay here anymore,” Mohammad Jamshidi told AFP before getting into a taxi.
Reza Rezayi said he was deported after his wife accused him of beating her.
“Despite having a witness, I couldn’t prove it in the court because Europeans only listen to the lies of women,” Rezayi said.
The International Organization for Migration confirmed the arrival of “eight returnees.”
Twelve had been scheduled to arrive on Wednesday, according to Islamuddin Jurat, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s refugees and repatriations ministry.
“We don’t know if there was a last minute change in the schedule or some of them were taken back,” Jurat told AFP.
The men face an uncertain future in a country struggling with high unemployment, a weak economy and masses of refugees being ejected from Pakistan and Iran, as well as hundreds of thousands of others uprooted by war.
A hundred Afghans have now returned to the country after their asylum applications were rejected by the German government, according to official data.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has been battling to bring down the numbers of asylum seekers after the arrival of more than one million migrants — mainly from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan — hoping to find refuge in 2015 and 2016.
While Germany granted safe haven to most people from war-torn Syria, Berlin has argued that it can safely repatriate people to Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan, even as Taliban and Daesh militants terrorize much of the country.
Jamshidi, one of the deportees, said that “in every corner of Europe the priority is given to the people of Syria.
“They need only three months to get registered but Afghans can be deported after years of staying in Germany.”
The latest deportation comes as Merkel’s conservative alliance maintains a strong lead in the polls ahead of Germany’s general election on Sept. 24.


Russian police arrest man who vandalised Ivan the Terrible painting

Updated 52 sec ago
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Russian police arrest man who vandalised Ivan the Terrible painting

MOSCOW: Russian police on Saturday said they arrested a man for vandalising one of the best known works of 19th century painter Ilya Repin, depicting Ivan the Terrible killing his son, at a gallery in Moscow.
Police said the man used a metal pole to break the glass covering Repin's world famous painting of the 16th century Russian Tsar, titled "Ivan the Terrible and his Son Ivan on November 16, 1581."
The Tretyakov Gallery said the work was "seriously damaged" as a result.
"The canvas has been ripped in three place in the central part of the Tsar's son. The original frame suffered from the breaking of the glass," the gallery said in a statement.
"Thankfully the most valuable part was not damaged," it added, referring to the face and hands of the Tsar and his son, the Tsarevich.
The statement added that the incident took place late on Friday, just before the museum closed.
"The man entered the already empty Ilya Repin room. He bypassed staff who were scanning the rooms before the closing, and hit the glass of the painting several times with a metal pole," the gallery said.
Russian state news agency TASS reported the man, a 37 year-old from the central city of Voronezh, did so for "historical reasons."
Police later released a video of the man, who said he acted under the influence of alcohol.
"I came to look at it (the painting). I went to the buffet in the evening, I wanted to leave. Then I drank 100 grams of vodka. I don't drink vodka and something hit me," the man said.

Ultra patriotic groups have protested against the painting before, notably in 2013 when monarchists demanded for it to be removed from the gallery.
The gallery refused to remove it and reinforced security around the work.
It is not the first time the painting has suffered an attack. In 1913, a man stabbed the work with a knife, ripping the canvas in three places. Ilya Repin was then still alive and participated in the restoration of his painting.
Since 1913, the painting has been protected by glass.
Russian state officials have lobbied for the rehabilitation of the medieval ruler's image, who led Russia from 1547 to 1583 and earned the moniker "Terrible" due to his brutal policy of oprichnina, which included the creation of a secret police that spread mass terror and executed thousands of people.
He also killed his own son, most likely by accident during a violent rage.
In June 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the story was a "legend" used by the West against Russia.
"Did he kill his son? Did he not? Many experts say he did not and that this was invented by the Pope's Nuncio who came to Russia for talks and tried to turn Orthodox Rus to a Catholic Rus," Putin said.
In October 2016, Russia inaugurated a controversial monument, the first of its kind, to the 16th century tyrant in Oryol, a city some 335 kilometres south of Moscow.