Today the so far third deportation flight from Germany to Afghanistan was held.
Between fifty to sixty people According to officials and press reports 18 men, together with police forces, were put on a charter plane of Meridiana. The plane left the spot at the airfield approximately at 9.30 PM. The procedure was conducted under exclusion of media and the broad public. Colleagues with strong tele-photo lenses were not able to display the faces of the humans transported back to Afghanistan with this flight. Protestors gathered in the area between Terminals 1 and 2. At least 350 participated in the rally and demonstrated through the terminals.
Munich BAMF Offices Closed for the Past Weeks ?
Talking to activists supporting refugees that want to stay anonymous 24mmjournalism was told that the Munich local office of the BAMF – ministry of migration- has been closed during the past two weeks. This was one of the first times one could expect something like this flight happening from the Bavarian capital. Asylum seekers were not able to reach the office or had to go to Nuremberg to have their papers either renewed or checked.
Activists also told us that the last pick-ups for the deportation flight happened in the late afternoon of February 22nd.
Deportation from Terminal F
According to a federal police spokesman the procedure for people getting deported is equal to the procedure for a normal passenger – besides they are not flying by their own will. Papers are reviewed luggage is checked, people go through security and then board the plane. This all happens behind closed doors. No possibility to accompany the situation as a journalist. To enter high security terminal F at Munich airport one had to show boarding passes checked by police officers already far in advance. The entrance was blocked by police forces with dogs on site.
Even though too late to take a picture we can report from having a look at other photographers pictures that the plane was parked so the boarding took place on the other side of what can be documented from outside the airport area. This makes the whole process seem distanced. The ones deported have no face. On February 23rd we tried to get a hold of press officials of Meridiana. The Italian airline seems to have conducted the deportation flight as pictures displayed in mayor german news magazines such as Spiegel Online suggest. Trying to get in contact with the airline asking on their Facebook Fanpage for contact to a press official they blocked 24mmjournalism’s reporter:
We will keep trying to reach their press office and if we get a statement this might answer our questions:
Did you conduct a flight deporting 18 male asylum seekers to Kabul on February 22nd from Munich?
How much did the german government pay you for this flight?
Does your company stand behind the deportations and sees no ethical problem in this controversial discussed topic?
Why did you block our reporter on your Facebook page?
Do you think this will damage the way your company is seen by the public?
Will you conduct more deportations if the german government pays you?
The company has answered 24mmjournalism’s reporters e-mail sent, after trying to get in contact via different social media channels and a phone number handed out by their call-center, stating:
Meridiana works with many brokers. No information on services performed for third parties is divulged.
For your kind information, we didn’t get any phone call or email from you, before your one below.
Protest in the Area of Munich Airport
Several political groups mobilized for a demonstration in the late afternoon just before the deportation would take place. At least 350 participated in the rally. First speaches by refugees were held and then a demonstration throughout the area of the airport followed. Several passengers looked surprised as they did not know what was going on while they were boarding their flights. One hissed passing by: “Put them on the plane too!”.
All in all February 22nd marks a sad mark in german history with deportations to a war-zone departing from Munich. After deportations in December, January and now February one can guess that this will become a monthly thing to happen.