After the deadly knife attack on a train between Kiel and Hamburg, deficits in cooperation between authorities are increasingly becoming apparent - especially across national borders. This was made clear on Wednesday by a meeting of the interior and legal committee in the state parliament in Kiel. Certain information from Hamburg about the alleged perpetrator Ibrahim A. had not arrived in Schleswig-Holstein, said Integration Minister Aminata Touré (Greens). Authorities in both countries would have to ask themselves whether they shouldn't have checked out a few points.
The 33-year-old Palestinian had been released from custody in Hamburg just a few days before the act of violence, which left two dead and five injured. Hamburg's Justice Senator Anna Gallina (Greens) defended herself against criticism almost at the same time in the Hamburg state parliament. She pointed out that the release was decided by a court. "And there was no way to impose conditions."
In Kiel, CDU parliamentary group leader Tobias Koch accused the judicial authorities in Hamburg and North Rhine-Westphalia of blatant failure because they had not passed on the necessary information to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees or to the immigration authorities in Kiel. Ibrahim A. spent his first years in Germany in North Rhine-Westphalia.
According to the Federal Office, no decision has yet been made on withdrawing the so-called subsidiary protection status. The reason given by a department head in Kiel was that it was not possible to give Ibrahim A. a legal hearing because he did not have a permanent address. He did not respond to mail sent to a registration office for the homeless.
If the authorities had known about the Hamburg pre-trial detention, it would have been easy, said the department head. The exchange with the Kiel immigration office did not result in any corresponding information either. After the arrest, the man could now be granted a legal hearing. It is likely that the protection status will be revoked. However, this would not mean a threat of deportation, because that would be a matter for the responsible foreigners authority. According to the Integration Ministry, there have been no deportations from the north to the Gaza Strip in the past ten years.
The withdrawal procedure was initiated in autumn 2021. The citizenship of the Palestinian is considered unclear, said the employee. Ibrahim A. described himself as a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip and stateless when he entered the country in 2014. Kiel's head of public order, Christian Zierau, also stated that there was no information to be delivered from Hamburg. The Palestinian received unemployment benefit II and accommodation costs from the Job Center in Kiel between July 2, 2021 and November 30, 2021.
In the attack on the regional train on January 25, a 17-year-old and a 19-year-old were killed. According to Schleswig-Holstein's Interior Minister Sabine Sütterlin-Waack (CDU), both were a couple. Five other people were injured, three of them critically. In the meantime, they had to be placed in an artificial coma, their condition is stable again and they are responsive. An arrest warrant was issued against Ibrahim A. for two counts of murder and multiple attempts at manslaughter.
The state government announced safety measures for rail traffic. "This includes video surveillance in trains and stations, appropriate lighting at stations and in areas of fear," said Sütterlin-Waack. In addition, the installation of a button for a silent alarm in wagons is being examined.
In addition to uniformed police officers, civilian police officers with service weapons should also be allowed to ride the train free of charge if they register with the train staff at the beginning of the journey, said the interior minister. Some outrageous acts could not be prevented by any security measures. "Our goal is to prevent similar attacks as much as possible." The balance between security and freedom must be maintained. "Our own safety precautions must not disproportionately affect our lives or even frighten us."
Justice Minister Kerstin von der Decken (CDU) said: "Stricter punishments are certainly not a panacea." A possible increase in penalties for assault with a knife must be discussed. The conference of justice ministers had already dealt with this in 2019, but this was met with resistance from the federal government at the time.
The authorities in Schleswig-Holstein were not sufficiently informed from Hamburg and North Rhine-Westphalia, said the parliamentary group leader of the South Schleswig Voters' Association (SSW), Lars Harms. Had it been otherwise, the crime probably would not have been prevented.
The background would have to be clarified further and political consequences discussed, said Touré. The authorities would have to work together faster and better across borders, and processes under the law on foreign nationals would have to be accelerated. Foreign serious multiple offenders would have to be expelled immediately. The minister also gave figures: At the end of 2022, 12,397 foreigners were required to leave the north, and 10,730 of them were tolerated. Of the 1,291 planned returns, 389 were implemented, and 41 offenders were deported directly from a prison.