Berlin (CNN)Late in the evening on Tuesday, July 3 a charter plane took off from Munich airport carrying 69 passengers bound for Kabul, Afghanistan.
Germany ramps up deportations of failed Afghan asylum seekers
Bavaria's Interior Ministry released a statement announcing that 51 of those on board were rejected asylum seekers and that the "lion's share of this collective repatriation" were from the southern state of Bavaria.
Most of them were "voluntary repatriations," the statement said. But that's not how 26-year-old Mursalin saw it.
"I'm devastated. I'm worried. I'm afraid," the Afghan asylum seeker told CNN on the eve of his planned deportation flight. (Mursalin is not his real name: He asked for anonymity because, as a Christian convert, he fears retaliation if he is sent back to Afghanistan.)
"I did everything Germany asked of me," he said. "I am no criminal. I have no links to any terror organization. I provided them with all the documents they need. My passport, documentation. And all I got was this letter telling me I would be deported on Tuesday."
One man deported to Afghanistan on the July 3 flight has since taken his own life, according to German Interior Ministry spokesman Harald Neymanns on Wednesday. His body was found on July 10 and a police investigation into his death is underway, Neymanns said.
After embracing hundreds of thousands of refugees in 2015, Germany is now firmly closing the door on asylum seekers.
The southern state of Bavaria is taking the lead with the strong backing of Federal Interior Minister and former state premier Horst Seehofer, who recently triggered a crisis in government over his plans to reject some asylum seekers directly at the southern border.