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German pastor convicted for granting church asylum to Iranian immigrant

by Heather Preston

A Methodist pastor in Germany has been sentenced to two years' probation and a fine of $1,500 (£1,110) for providing church asylum to an Iranian immigrant.

Pastor Stefan Schörk was issued with a warning from the Bayreuth district court with reservation of punishment for aiding and abetting the unauthorised stay of a young Iranian immigrant.

The judge ruled that only the state could legally grant asylum. Schörk is appealing the verdict.

If Schörk doesn't commit any criminal offenses within those two years, the punishment will be waived.

According to BR News, Schörk expressed disappointment at the verdict, maintaining that he was merely acting out of Christian duty and did not see his actions as illegal.

"When I look someone in the eye who tells me about their suffering, then I have to act. That is my faith that I try to live. I preach about love for my enemies and my neighbour every Sunday, so my words must also be in show my deeds.," he said.

Schörk granted a German-speaking Iranian immigrant ten days' church asylum in January. The refugee first claimed asylum in Greece and under EU law he must seek asylum through the EU member state he first entered.

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