Gay asylum-seeker was unlawfully deported

High Court orders Home Secretary to bring him back to UK

20th February 2009: A High Court judge has ordered Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to do everything possible to return to the UK a gay asylum-seeker who was unlawfully deported last year.

Sir George Newman termed the failed asylum-seeker’s removal as "manifestly unlawful", The Independent reported.

The gay asylum-seeker was deceived into thinking he was being taken from Tinsley House immigration removal centre, on the perimeter of Gatwick airport, for an interview with an immigration officer. Instead, without warning, he was taken in a van by four security men to a plane, lifted on to the aeroplane and flown out of the country.

The gay man Mr. X was unlawfully deported to unnamed country. The judge said that the actions were calculated to avoid any complication that could arise from his removal becoming publicly known.

The judge ordered the Home Secretary to "use her best Endeavour’s" to bring Mr. X back.

According to the judge, officers of the UK Border Agency had "deliberately misled" Mr X and deprived him of his right to seek legal advice before his removal.

Caroline Slocock, chief executive of the Refugee Legal Centre said their client was wrongly removed. When Mr. X resisted leaving the van, he was handcuffed, and his private parts punched to make him straighten his legs so they could be belted together. Mr X’s mobile phone was also taken from him, giving him no chance to contact friends or lawyers, even though Home Office rules required that he should have 72 hours’ notice of removal to give him a chance to make calls. He was removed because his asylum claim failed.

At the time of his removal, Mr X had worked in the UK for seven years. He argued that he feared persecution because his native country discriminated against homosexuals and he could be subjected to violence.

"Justice requires he should, if possible, be brought back so he can make his claim as effectively as he can. Without hesitation, I exercise my discretion to grant the claimant a mandatory order that the Secretary of State should use her best endeavours to secure his return to the UK," the judge said.

If returned, Mr X may claim damages from the Government since his removal was carried out illegally.

A UK Border Agency spokesperson told "We are disappointed by the High Court’s decision. When somebody has been found to have no right to stay in the UK we expect them to leave voluntarily and if necessary will enforce their removal.

"It is important that individuals who have no right to be here are removed as part of robust immigration system. We are fully investigating what happened in this case.”

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