Tunisia delayed deportation of Berlin attack suspect
BERLIN - A German regional minister Wednesday accused Tunisia of delaying for months the extradition of a man now wanted over the Berlin market attack, saying required papers had only just arrived, two days after the carnage.
The asylum request launched by the man hunted by police, identified by media as Anis A., had been rejected in June, said Ralf Jaeger, interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state.
"But the man could not be deported because he had no valid travel documents," said Jaeger.
"The procedure for drawing up a document in lieu of a passport was initiated in August, but Tunisia disputed the fact that this person was one of its nationals," he added.
Only after a months-long wait -- during which German security services investigated the man for a suspected attack plan -- Tunisia came through with the papers, Jaeger told a press conference.
Finally, the new Tunisian travel document "arrived today" in Germany, two days after the Berlin Christmas market attack.
Germany has repeatedly accused Tunisia and other Maghreb states of stalling on the repatriation of its nationals from Germany.
The subject sparked tensions after the mass sexual assaults in the German city of Cologne, blamed largely on North African and Arab men, last New Year's Eve.
Germany this year moved to declare Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco as so-called safe countries of origin, to raise the bar for asylum requests.
But the bill has been stuck in the upper house for months over human rights concerns in those nations.