“… and when he was about to close the door, while I was waiting for the flight, I said: ‘I can’t go back to Spain’. So he stepped back, came to me and said: ‘Listen, this is the law and we have to follow the law, we have to respect the law’. I said: ‘OK, we are following the law. But maybe when you send me back to Spain, Spain will send me back to Libya. And if I go back to Libya, I may die. You could be a cause, a reason, of my death. So please think again of what you are doing, I mean, working as a police officer’. He didn’t say anything, he just looked at me and went away. But then, he turned, he looked at me in the eyes, and he said: ‘Once in Spain, you’ll be a free man again’.
And it’s just… I’m just thinking of this: what does he mean by ‘free man’? I’m not free! I don’t know. I am trying to see it from multiple point of views but… I don’t know, I don’t know what he meant. But, like, truly, his eye contact and his eyes – there was something… I can see that he is not happy doing this. He was really kind with me and, even though I was stressed and talking loudly, he kind of understandood my position, my situation. So yeah… That’s it. I should have asked him his name. I think I am not allowed to ask a police officer but… Yeah, I was too stressed to think about that. That’s it. Have a good night, Habibi and… we’ll catch up later.”
A.E. (not his real name) was deported to Spain from Tegel Airport a few days ago after living in Germany for one year and a half – and just four days prior to the expiry of the time-limits on his Dublin transfer. In Spain, he was given a 6-months residence permit and told that, although his asylum application will be re-opened, he doesn’t “have any rights anymore because [he] left” the country without authorisation. “I don’t have any rights to work or get a place or some sort of money from the state. So I have only one choice, which is staying in an emergency shelter. It’s like the Notunterkunft at Franklinstraße., but even worse. It’s a big hangar and there’s, like, 700 beds and everyone steals there. It’s really shit. And it closes from 9 in the morning until 9 in the evening, so…”. So, contrary to what the police officer told him in order to cope with his own guilt and shame, A.E. did not quite land in Spain as a “free man”. As that police officer knows all too well, he and anyone else who played a part in A.E.’s deportation bear moral (if not legal) responsibility for his current and future predicaments. That police officer – and anyone else who is involved in deporting people from Germany, not to mention those politicians who (ab)use the ideal of the Rechtsstaat to legitimise ever more cruel and senseless migration control policies – can keep telling us that “this is the law and we have to follow the law”. But for us it is clear: When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes everyone's duty!