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German court declares nun who offered asylum to 2 Nigerian women innocent

German nun, Juliana Seelmann, who was accused of abetting illegal immigration declared innocent.

Refugees in Germany. A German court has exonerated a German nun, Juliana Seelmann, who was accused of abetting illegal immigration and fined 500 euros last year for granting church asylum to two Nigerian women.

The last judgement by the court on church asylum found the 29-year old not guilty of helping the illegal stay of the two Nigerian women in Germany

READ THE BACK STORY HERE: German nun fined for granting church asylum to Nigerian women facing deportation

The judge of the district court in Würzburg, a town in the Northern Bavarian city, justified the nun’s acquittal with a decision from February by the Bavarian High Court which had ruled in favour of a Benedictine monk who had taken in a rejected asylum seeker from the Gaza Strip in 2020.

The judge had argued that those same conditions were applicable to the nun’s case.

The two women from Nigeria said they were trying to escape forced prostitution in Italy where they had first fled to. German officials had tried to send them back to Italy where the two women knew they would be forced into prostitution again.

According to DW, they were able to find their way into the church’s protections under a practice often referred to in Germany as ‘ church asylum’.

What is church asylum?

Church asylum means the temporary admission of refugees by a parish in order to avert deportation. The aim is the resumption or reexamination of the asylum or immigration procedure for the individual refugee. The practice has a long history in Germany.