Berlin rules out asylum for refugees

12th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

12 July 2004 , BERLIN - The German government on Monday ruled out granting asylum to a group of shipwrecked African refugees picked up by German NGO aid vessel in the Mediterranean which has landed in Italy. "The Italian government alone is responsible," said Interior Minister Rainer Lingenthal, adding that to apply for asylum refugees had to first reach German territory. According to the aid agency which owns the ship, Cap Anamur, the refugees gave written applications for German asylum to the ship's capt

12 July 2004

BERLIN - The German government on Monday ruled out granting asylum to a group of shipwrecked African refugees picked up by German NGO aid vessel in the Mediterranean which has landed in Italy.

"The Italian government alone is responsible," said Interior Minister Rainer Lingenthal, adding that to apply for asylum refugees had to first reach German territory.

According to the aid agency which owns the ship, Cap Anamur, the refugees gave written applications for German asylum to the ship's captain.

But Lingenthal said even if this was true it would have no legal status in Germany given that an aid agency vessel did not constitute German territory.

The ship rescued 37 mainly Sudanese nationals three weeks ago. It had been allowed into Italian waters off Sicily but was prevented from docking until Monday.

Italian authorities initially refused to allow the ship enter port because Rome said the refugees were picked up in Maltese waters and should be taken to Malta. The captain countered that he had picked up the survivors near the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Officials from Rome were due to question the captain later Monday.

DPA

Subject: German news

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