Syrian not allowed into berlin clinic: despite head shot

For patients from Saudi Arabia or Russia, a visa for Germany is routine. But not for Muhammed Al Mousa. Because he is Syrian.

Muhammed Al Mousa 2015. photo: private

For a year, Muhammed Al Mousa has been waiting to be operated on. The thirty-year-old English student was shot in the head by a sniper in the Syrian city of Homs. Badly injured, he was forced to flee. He was literally carried across the border to Turkey by helpers. That was in 2012. Today, Al Mousa lives with his wife and child in the city of Gaziantep and waits.

His Turkish doctors cannot perform the complicated operation, saying it is too dangerous. In Berlin, on the other hand, they have the confidence to perform the operation. The contact to the Berlin specialists was established by a Berlin activist. In the end, her mother, Sophia Deeg, will transfer the necessary 6,000 euros to the neurosurgery department at Vivantes Klinikum Friedrichshain and help with his visa application. All the papers are in place, the admission date has been set – but the Foreign Office is refusing to help.

Reason: It is not certain whether al Mousa will return to Turkey after the operation. It is possible that he will apply for asylum in Berlin. The doctor advising Sophia Steeg, Jakob Borchardt, who also works at Vivantes, tells the site: "I am very surprised that a visa is denied for such a clear medical indication. With patients from Russia or Saudi Arabia, this is a routine matter."

Al Mousa is suing the German Foreign Office. The Berlin Administrative Court will decide this Wednesday whether it will reconsider the decision. For Al Mousa, his life depends on it. That’s not an exaggeration, unfortunately. Because in the meantime, two cysts have formed on the open head wound. His condition is deteriorating. Nicolas Becker, a criminal defense lawyer in Berlin, sums up the attitude, which he considers "inhumane," as follows: "It can’t be that you don’t help someone, even though you can help, and instead refer them to the legal process. And thereby accepting the death of a human being."

Berlin, Becker reminds us, has a long tradition of helping brain-damaged people. Founded by neurologist Vladimir Lindenberg, who cared for countless people in Berlin after World War II. It is now up to the discretion of the administrative court and, above all, the Foreign Office to decide whether Al Mousa can undergo a dangerous operation in a place where he is promised good chances of recovery. Or not.