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Linz shooters: Why the Iraqi Saba I. could not be deported

Ever since it became known that the Linz gunman had previously been convicted of bodily harm and dangerous threats and even had to serve a part-time prison sentence, the question has been hotly debated not only in Upper Austria: “Why hasn’t the Iraqi been deported to his home country a long time ago?”

The asylum authorities tried. Saba I never had valid asylum status, but was under subsidiary protection. This protection was withdrawn in 2017 and deportation had already been ordered.

However, the Iraqi defended himself against this right up to the Federal Administrative Court and the Administrative Court. Without success: in 2019, his subsidiary protection was finally revoked, so there was actually nothing standing in the way of his deportation.

But things turned out differently, because he could no longer actually be deported. In 2018, Saba I married the woman he is said to have stabbed a few days ago. The 42-year-old mother of an eleven-year-old daughter comes from Romania – and thus from the European Union. As a family member, the Iraqi therefore applied for an EEA residence permit, which was issued by the municipal authorities in Linz. The so-called “EEA card” protected him from expulsion.

Saba I. is now being investigated for three attempted murders, and there is a risk of life imprisonment. The presumption of innocence applies to the man, who will probably remain in the country for many years to come.

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