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Czech Police arrest 16 Iraqi refugees who want to leave the country

15.4.2016 19:08
A group of Iraqi Christian refugees decided on 2 April to travel to Essen, Germany from the Czech Republic. (PHOTO:  Czech Television)
A group of Iraqi Christian refugees decided on 2 April to travel to Essen, Germany from the Czech Republic. (PHOTO: Czech Television)

Another 16 Christian refugees from Iraq who were brought to the Czech Republic by the Generation 21 Foundation and who have been living in Brno have decided to leave the Czech Republic. They retrieved their passports from the Czech authorities and wanted to go to Germany.

On Thursday evening the Czech Police arrested them several kilometers from the border with Germany. The group visited the Czech Interior Ministry in person to request that their status as protected refugees be revoked.

"All of those persons got their travel documents back and were issued a three-day departure order. The Iraqis were immediately offered aid by the Red Cross, but they refused it," Czech Interior Ministry spokesperson Lucie Nováková posted to the ministry's website.

According to her, ministry bureaucrats informed all the Iraqis that they were not permitted to illegally cross the border of another EU Member State and that the departure order meant they had three days to leave the European Union. The Czech Police transported the 16 refugees to a police station in the center of Ústí nad Labem this morning.

The group was arrested on Thursday evening several kilometers from the Czech-German border and the migrants spent the night at a hotel in Ústí nad Labem. They did not answer questions posed to them by the media today.

The group, which includes several children, spent the night at the Interhotel Bohemia in the center of Ústí nad Labem, according to the Czech News Agency. They had breakfast at around 7:30 AM today and then police drove them to the station with all of their baggage in four vans.

The Czech News Agency is in the process of learning what will happen with them next. One week ago the Czech Government abolished this particular program for resettling Iraqi Christians, thanks to which 153 people were supposed to have made a new home in the Czech Republic.

"This example also demonstrates that it was correct to close the project of the Generation 21 Foundation," Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) said when asked to comment on developments. The foundation has brought 89 Christian refugees to the Czech Republic so far.

The first such group to leave the Czech Republic at the beginning of April were the 25 people living at the Okrouhlík center near Jihlava. That group made it into Germany.

The German authorities do want to return those persons to the Czech Republic. An eight-member refugee family living in Brno also flew back to Iraq a week ago because they were homesick. 

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Christians, Germany, Iraq, refugee



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