Wed, Oct. 08, 2003

Kaplan Case: Is Germany Able to Deal with Radical Asylum Seekers?

JN - Recklinghausen.   Germany makes another attempt to get rid of the self-proclaimed "Kalif of Cologne". Up to now, Turkish radical Islamist leader Metin Kaplan, convicted on appeal for murder and released from prison after having served a four year sentence, has successfully challenged every attempt by German officials to expel him. Although his immigration status as a legal asylum-seeker has been revoked, German courts continue to prevent Kaplan's deportation.

As the Cologne Administrative Court Cologne now held, a deportation is unlawful if there is evidence that the deportee might suffer torture or could be subject to a procedure violating the rule of law in his home country. Despite Turkey's latest efforts at complying with human rights, the court disallowed Kaplan's deportation because of the probabalities of future violations. It found sufficient evidence that Kaplan might be criminally convicted on the basis of statements made under torture.

The case attracts attention in German media because it highlights Germany's inability to deal with asylum seekers who are convicted criminals. German Secretary of the Interior, Otto Schily, even travelled to Turkey to secure official guarantees that Kaplan would enjoy a fair trial. In Turkey, Kaplan is accused of subversive activities. As he frequently stated in his radical speeches, his organization hopes to convert Turkey into a state exclusivley governed by the rules of Islam. After Schily's return from Turkey, his department challenged the case before the Court of Appeals of Münster. The court confirmed that the case, which is said to put the efficacy of German asylum law to the acid test, will be handled speedily and without delay.

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