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Teen refugee banished from east German town after knife attack

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Teen refugee banished from east German town after knife attack
The old town in Cottbus. Photo: DPA
12:28 CET+01:00
The town of Cottbus in Brandenburg has taken the unusual step of telling a resident to pack his bags and leave, after he was reportedly involved in an assault at a shopping centre.

Mayor of Cottbus, Holger Kelch, decided on Tuesday that the teenage asylum seeker and his father would have to move away from the town and the surrounding district, according to the German Press Agency (DPA). Kelch came to the decision after consulting with local police and immigration authorities.

The 15 year old was allegedly one of three teenagers involved in an assault on a 51-year-old man at a shopping centre in the town centre on Friday.

According to police, the three youths accosted the man and his wife as they tried to enter a shopping centre. The youths, aged 14, 15 and 17, allegedly demanded that they enter the building first and said that the woman needed to show them “respect.”

When the couple refused to cooperate with their demands, the 14-year-old reportedly attacked the man with a knife. A passerby was able to intervene and the three youths fled. The man did not sustain serious injuries.

City authorities have now decided to banish the 15-year-old from the city as he had already been classified as "dangerous" in December of last year. The city has handed him a “negative residency permit”, an order which local authorities are allowed to hand to asylum seekers.

“It is the first time that we have made use of the negative residency permit,” a city official told the Lausitzer Rundschau. “The integration of the youth has failed.”

Refugee associations have previously criticized the negative residency permit as an infringement on the basic right to freedom of movement.

Last year it was implemented in the towns of Salzgitter, Delmenhorst and Wilhelmshaven for all refugees, after the towns said they had reached their capacity for integrating new arrivals.

The other two suspects in the Cottbus knife attack have now also been added to the list of "dangerous" people and will be warned of legal consequences should they be suspected of breaking the law again.

Police are now investigating all three of the juveniles on suspicion of attempted grievous bodily harm. They have also increased patrols of the city centre in response to the assault.

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