Asylum seekers are pretending to be former ISIS terrorists in a desperate bid to stay in Europe as officials will not deport them if they face capital punishment back home.
The alleged ploy was uncovered by German weekly news magazine ‘Focus’ after talking to government insiders.
According to the magazine, public prosecutor’s offices throughout Germany have initiated hundreds of preliminary investigations since 2018 after refugees were accused of serious acts of violence in their homeland or claimed to be members of terrorist organisations like the so-called Islamic State (IS).
Several insiders within German judicial authorities said some refugees now even invent tales of being involved with terrorist groups and having committed crimes, because refugees believe it will ensure they can stay in Germany without being deported.
One refugee admitted that he made up a violent terrorist background: “I just said that because I heard that you could get asylum this way.”
According to Focus, these refugees claim that if they were to be deported back to their native countries, they would face torture or death.
German authorities are then often forced to tolerate or even grant full asylum to such refugees on human rights grounds as the country does not deport people to a country where they could face the death penalty or have their basic human rights infringed.
The prosecutor’s office of Celle, which is responsible for all terrorist investigations in the German state of Lower Saxony, has reportedly received a total of 560 cases of self-incrimination by refugees since the beginning of 2018.
The Frankfurt public prosecutor’s office has registered more than 170 such cases since 2018, while the office in Dusseldorf has registered 80.
The national figures regarding how many refugees incriminate themselves cannot be determined as many prosecutor’s offices across the country do not keep such statistics.
According to several investigators, most of the asylum seekers who accuse themselves are from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Turkey, Nigeria and Liberia and claim to have been members or supporters of terrorist organisations such as IS, the Taliban, Boko Haram, al-Nusra, al-Shabab or the PKK.
Bernd Kolkmeier of the Celle public prosecutor’s office said: “It almost never happens that someone presents us documents such as judgements or indictments from their home country.
“However, there is reason to critically question the truth of the descriptions of those involved.”
Kolkmeier said that in one case an asylum seeker even admitted that pretending to be a terrorist is the newest ploy to remain in Germany.
He said: “The person concerned had admitted in the preliminary investigation to having invented his story on the advice of the human traffickers in order to influence the asylum procedure to the advantage of refugees.”
Spokesman Daniel Vollmert of the Dusseldorf public prosecutor’s office said that sometimes the stories of asylum seekers are “so implausible that from the outset they are doubted and self-incrimination is assumed”.
He said that in some cases those concerned had later withdrawn their earlier statements and claimed they only made the statements “because I heard you could get asylum this way”.
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