The Ibrahim Miri case could have a serious fallout with potential for stricter sentencing when it comes to illegal re-entry. Such sanctions would include greater enforcement of prison sentences for people who break re-entry bans as well as stricter border controls. In this article we will examine the law in Germany when it comes to deportations and re-entry. The Ibrahim Miri case will also be outlined in more detail.

Background to the Ibrahim Miri Case

Ibrahim Miri is recognised as the head of the Miri-Clan. He has had a total of 19 convictions against his name and has been involved in organised crime for decades. The Miri-Clan is based primarily in Bremen but also operates out of Berlin as well as in North-Rhine Westphalia and is notorious throughout Germany for countless offences. Members of the Miri-Clan have had cases brought against them for fraud, blackmail, burglaries and drug-dealing amongst others.

The deportation of Ibrahim Miri has been sought after by the German state for a long time. Complications have arisen, however, in the determination of his nationality. Although generally recognised as Lebanese, he didn’t have a Lebanese passport. The Lebanese government were not willing to process the deportation due to this lack of identification documentation. As he was officially stateless, Mr. Miri could not be deported.

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The Deportation and Return of Ibrahim Miri

Ibrahim Miri was arrested and deported on 10th of July 2019. The state officials in Germany were able to locate a Lebanese passport and thus carry out the deportation orders given against Mr. Miri. The arrest of Mr. Miri required the usage of heavily armed police raiding his property and from there he was flown via Schoenfeld Airport to Beirut. The Lebanese government were not completely in favour of how the deportation took place. Mr. Miri’s ban from re-entering Germany was put in place to last seven years.

In October 2019, Ibrahim Miri reappeared in Bremen, seeking asylum. However, this application was immediately rejected. He had made the journey back to Germany illegally using a forged passport but turned himself into the authorities. The concluding case led to a second deportation of Mr. Miri. Whether this will prevent him from trying to re-enter Germany in the future is unlikely as in December 2019 his daughter was born in Germany. This means that he has two children in Germany and he hopes that this will allow him to return in the future.

This case raises many questions. The fact that it took so long to get Mr. Miri deported, that he was able to return to Germany and that he will likely challenge this deportation order, demonstrates some issues with the deportation system. There has been a major debate since these events with some voices calling for stricter asylum controls and others looking not to go down too strict a road. What will happen from here remains to be seen.

Deportation Rules in Germany

The law on deportation from Germany has become an important topic of conversation in the last number of years. The Ibrahim Miri case is one of a number of cases that have highlighted the issue. Many people believe that the German system is too soft when it comes to deportations. This is an important discussion to have due to the nature of the Schengen Zone and how easy it is to travel across borders.

When it comes to deportations, they can be permitted in certain circumstances. One example of legal deportation is where an asylum seeker’s appeal for asylum has been turned down. This is permitted for under § 34 Asylum Act. Should this happen they will have a set period in which to depart Germany. This period is normally around six months. If they have not left Germany in this time they may face forceful deportation.

Criminal activity can also lead to callings for deportation. If an asylum seeker commits an offence that carries a sentence of three years imprisonment or more, they face likely deportation. For those who are found guilty of lesser offences can also face deportation but this time based on the facts of the situation. It will be determined based on whether the person convicted is deemed to be a threat to society generally. The deportation order can also extend to non-Germans generally if they have been convicted of crimes in Germany.

Important Factors in Deportation Cases

However, other aspects also play a role such as the person’s situation in Germany. If they are working in Germany and contributing to society in a mostly positive manner, this will be taken into account. Additionally, if the person has a German family (children born in Germany) this will also be in there favour. When it comes to deciding on cases concerning deportation there are two bodies who work together to look into the cases. The bodies are: the Foreigners’ Registration Office (“Ausländerbehörde”), which is run by the state governments, and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

Another important factor is the destination for the deportation. The person in question must have a passport or identity documents demonstrating their link to the country in question. This has been one of the primary issues in the Ibrahim Miri case. His lack of Lebanese passport has prevented his deportation to the country over the last number of years.

As well as this, there is also the rule that Germany will not deport people to countries where they face capital punishment, torture or persecution. Germany can also be reluctant to deport people to their home countries should they be embroiled in conflict. One such example is the reluctance to deport people back to Syria.

Deportation and Re-Entry Ban

Should a person be given a deportation order they will also likely be presented with a re-entry ban. Consequently the person banned would not be allowed to travel back to the entire Schengen Zone; not just Germany. This ban on re-entry is regulated under § 11 German Residency Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz) and outlines that a time limit applies to such entry bans. Therefore, the ban can only be for over five years in the case of a criminal conviction and a ban cannot exceed ten years. Once a person has been given an entry ban this information will be recorded by the German services and by the Schengen Information System.

Should a person, given an entry ban, re-enter Germany they can serve up to three years in prison or receive a fine in accordance with § 95 German Residency Act. Should an attempt be made at re-entry into the Schengen Zone generally, the person can be refused at entry point.

Changes to the Deportation and Re-Entry Rules

Following the Ibrahim Miri case there has been discussion amongst those in the Ministry of the Interior to make a change to deportation and re-entry rules. This discussion is centring on bringing in greater enforcement of the prison sentences for those who break re-entry bans. While those who supply incorrect information for asylum claims could face three year prison sentences.

There are also discussions on the prospect of greater border controls and more inspections of those entering Germany. These greater controls would involve more police checks to determine whether those with entry-bans are entering the country illegally. How all of this will occur in practice remains to be seen. Clearly there is a desire for change following the Ibrahim Miri case. It has been described as a “litmus-test for the asylum system” in Germany.

In further connection to cases involving the Miri-Clan there has been discussion amongst state officials concerning deporting criminals back to Syria. Currently, people with refugee status are not deported to countries such as Syria due to conflict and other turmoil in the country. Although Syria is not yet completely stable, German officials are questioning whether refugee-status protections should extend to those involved in organised crime. There could soon come a push to relax the deportation ban to conflict zones.

Another aspect of this case that is being discussed concerns countries to where deportation is proving difficult. One of the suggestions presented is that there should be a greater scrutiny of visas provided to citizens of countries who are reluctant to accept the deportation of their citizens. The example from the Ibrahim Miri case is Lebanon. Conversely, there should be easier facilitation with countries who cooperate well in deportation cases.

Conclusion and Legal Assistance

For assistance in criminal law and extradition proceedings look no further than Schlun & Elseven. At our law firm, we assist people from all over the world with their legal issues in Germany. From our offices in Cologne, Düsseldorf and Aachen we help our diverse range of clients. We are also available to meet them in person at our conference rooms in Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Frankfurt and can meet outside of Germany if that is more suitable.

Should you require reliable legal assistance in your language please consider Schlun & Elseven as your legal advisors. We can provide our services in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese and Turkish. Should you require more advice on deportation orders, re-entry legal advice or extradition assistance please contact us directly. We are looking forward to working with you.