A group of 20 Christian refugees from Iraq will return to the Czech Republic after two weeks they spent in Germany, Hana Mala, from the Interior Ministry's press section told CTK on Friday.
The Interior Ministry accepted a new German request for their readmission.
After their return to the Czech Republic, the refugees, who originally stayed in the accommodation centre in Okrouhlik near Jihlava, south Moravia, will be placed in a detention facility. The Czech Republic will try to expel them to the country of origin. However, they can also seek Czech asylum again, Mala said.
The Czech Republic received the German application for the readmission of Iraqi refugees earlier this month, but it did not accept it since it included fundamental formal shortcomings. A new application was delivered on Thursday.
"I am glad that Germany has accepted our legal arguments by submitting a new application. After their readmission from Germany, the Iraqi Christians will be in the position of illegal migrants," Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (senior government Social Democrats, CSSD) said.
Mala also pointed out that Germany would not like to send the whole group of 25 Iraqi refugees back as five of them would stay there to be reunited with their family.
"The father of this five-member group has been granted asylum in Germany," Mala explained.
The Christian refugees from Iraq arrived in the Czech Republic within a resettlement programme organised by the Generation 21 Endowment and they were originally accommodated in Okrouhlik.
Two weeks ago, they rejected asylum in the Czech Republic and they left for Essen, Germany, by coach. The group was detained and checked in Germany.
Germans first asked the Czech foreigner police to take over the refugees, but then the request was withdrawn since the refugees sought asylum in Germany, saying they had relatives there. Later on, the German authorities said they would ask the Czech Republic to take the refugees back.
The group's departure affected the whole project of resettling refugees from Iraq to the Czech Republic. It was first suspended and then the government decided to terminate it.
The endowment has brought 89 refugees to the Czech Republic. According to the original plan, 153 were to arrive in the country.
Apart from the refugees from Okrouhlik, a group of 16 Iraqis from Brno wanted to leave for Germany. However, the Czech police detained them several kilometres away from the border last night. The refugees applied for Czech asylum again.
Both groups gave up asylum before attempting to leave the Czech Republic.
"The Czech Republic will not be a gambling room to play an asylum roulette," Chovanec said on Twitter, in reaction to the cases.