The main objective of the visit was to examine the treatment of foreign nationals deprived of their liberty under immigration legislation as well as the procedures and safeguards applied to them in the context of their removal. More specifically, the delegation observed the preparation and conduct of a joint return operation (JRO) by air from Germany to Pakistan that took place on 5 September 2023. The return flight was organised by Germany, with the participation of three other countries, and was supported by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).
To this end, the CPT delegation observed the police operation of gathering of Pakistani nationals to be returned at the collecting centre of the federal state of Brandenburg and at the central gathering point at Berlin-Brandenburg Airport where persons to be returned to Pakistan from various other federal states were brought. The hand-over process to the Federal Police authorities, the pre-flight phase at the airport facilities, the boarding of returnees from Germany, Austria and Italy were also observed. The delegation also monitored the in-flight phase to Islamabad (Pakistan), including the stop-over at Larnaca (Cyprus), where several additional returnees boarded, and the hand-over of the returnees to the Pakistani authorities.
On the eve of the visit, the delegation met representatives of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community, the Federal Police, the Senat Department for the Interior and Sport of the federal state of Berlin, the Berlin Police, and the Central Immigration Office of Brandenburg. Prior to the visit, it also held consultations with representatives of the National Agency for the Prevention of Torture (National Preventive Mechanism), the Forum forced return monitoring at Berlin Brandenburg Airport and the Frontex pool of forced-return monitors.
The delegation consisted of two CPT members, Nico Hirsch (Head of delegation) and Kristina Pardalos, who were supported by Sebastian Rietz of the CPT Secretariat, and assisted by Cyrille Orizet, psychiatrist at the HEGP Hospital in Paris (expert).
This was the seventh removal operation by air monitored by the CPT. The previous operations monitored concerned return flights from the United Kingdom in October 2012, from the Netherlands in October 2013, from Italy in December 2015, from Spain in February 2016, from Germany in August 2018, and from Belgium and Cyprus in November 2022. The visit reports for these six removal operations have been published on the CPT's website.