Germany
Angela Merkel

Germany on Tuesday began the deportation procedure for a Togolese asylum seeker, whose detention caused the migration debate in Germany to flare up this month.

“The deportation has begun,’’ the man’s lawyer, Engin Sanli, told newsmen.

Report says he believes that the 23-year-old is now onboard a plane travelling to Italy, where he was first registered in Europe after fleeing his homeland.

“Today we deported the 23-year-old Togolese, who we arrested in Ellwangen on May 3,’’ Minister of the Interior for Baden-Wuettemberg Thomas Strobl confirmed.

Police detained the man in early May in a massive raid on a refugee shelter in the south-German town of Ellwangen, after their first attempt to do so was violently blocked by a mob of over 200 migrants.

German news outlet Bild.de had previously reported that the deportation procedure began early this morning after the man was moved from prison just before 5 a.m. (0300 GMT).

This came after the Federal Constitutional Court rejected a last-minute appeal from the man’s legal team to block the deportation.

Germany’s long-running and often divisive debate over migration flared up after the initial failure of authorities to detain the man.

A number of senior politicians, including Strobl and federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, had called for Germany to be firmer when enforcing its deportation policy in the wake of the incident.