Germany’s Scholz backs Afghan, Syria deportations after policeman killed

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Thursday that serious criminals should be deported, even if they come from Syria or Afghanistan, after an Afghan asylum seeker stabbed a police officer to death.

He also said that glorifying or celebrating acts of terror was “against all our values”, and could in future be punished with deportation.

“Let me be clear: it outrages me when someone who has sought refuge here in our country commits the most serious criminal offences,” he said in an address to parliament.

“Such offenders should be deported -- even if they come from Syria or Afghanistan.”

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Germany has not been carrying out deportations to Afghanistan since the Taliban retook power in 2021. It also does not deport people to Syria as the country is not considered safe due to a long-running civil war.

A debate over resuming expulsions to Afghanistan in particular has been rekindled after a 25-year-old Afghan went on a knife rampage at an anti-Islam rally in the western city of Mannheim last week.

A police officer, 29, died of his wounds on Sunday after being repeatedly stabbed as he tried to intervene in the attack.

Five people taking part in a rally organized by Pax Europa, a campaign group against radical Islam, were also wounded.

Following the attack, the German interior ministry had already said it was looking into resuming deportations to Afghanistan.

Scholz also told the Bundestag that glorifying terrorist offences amounted to a “slap in the face for the victims, their families and our democratic order”.

Deportation rules will be tightened so that condoning terrorism can be considered grounds for deportation, he said.

Germany saw a surge in immigration last year, and the biggest group of asylum seekers -- over 30 percent -- came from Syria. Turkey was second, followed by Afghanistan.

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