UKBA denies manhandling of deported Iraqi asylum seekers

`Minimum use of force is a last resort’

13th September 2010: Less than a fortnight after failed Iraqi asylum seekers deported from the UK alleged beating by British security staff and Iraqi police, the UK Border Agency has totally rejected “these false claims”.

Reacting to the serious allegations of mistreatment of illegal immigrants on a return flight to Iraq, UKBA’s Head of immigration Matthew Coats has asserted: `The UK Border Agency totally rejects these false claims. I can confirm that 49 Iraqi nationals were removed on a chartered flight to Baghdad on 6 September.

`On arrival in Baghdad, approximately 35 returnees refused to disembark, assaulted escorting staff and attempted to damage the aircraft; minimum force was used to effect disembarkation’.

Elaborating on the UKBA policy, he said it is clear `that a minimum use of force is a last resort, is only carried out by trained officers, is proportionate, and is used for the shortest period to ensure compliance. Senior UKBA officials on the flight did not witness any mistreatment by escorting staff’.

A controversy of sorts was generated after the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR), a London-based organisation, had released the pictures of one those purported to be injured.

The federation had also made clear its intentions of launching a formal protest with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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