Sunday, 22 March 2009

Lying border guards to deport man twice

A gay asylum seeker may be deported from Britain for a SECOND time this month – days after being flown back under a High Court ruling.

As we reported in the Pink Paper last autumn, Mr X, as we have to refer to him due to reporting restrictions, was deported to his homeland after his application was rejected, despite homosexuality being illegal and punishable by life imprisonment there.

The Home Office insisted he could be returned there as long as he was “discreet” about his sexuality.

But last month the High Court ruled that officials had deported Mr X illegally, by deceiving him into thinking he was being taken to a detention centre when he was actually restrained and carried onto an aircraft.

In February, Judge Sir George Newman said the refugee’s removal was “manifestly unlawful” and ordered the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, to “use her best endeavours” to bring him back.

He said the UK Border Agency seemed to “deliberately mislead” Mr X and deprived him of his right to seek legal advice before his removal.

Yet, just days after being brought back to Britain under what appears to be a technicality, he faces a second deportation after his latest application was crushed.

The move was predicted by lawyers for the home secretary, who argued that flying him back to the UK was pointless as the 38-year-old was bound to lose the new claim.

Speaking exclusively to The Pink Paper from his safe house on the south coast of
England, Mr X spoke of his disappointment at the latest decision: “I don’t know what to do – I’m confused. I’m gutted and have been feeling so low. You start to feel bitter when just one word changes everything. I thought that maybe they would be fair to me after all this, but they are not.”

Mr X, who claims he was beaten up by Border Agency officials when he was deported from the UK, was assaulted upon his arrival in his homeland, where he spent several days in jail.

“I was arrested at the airport and taken to prison, which was horrendous,” he told us. “There were 156 people sat on the floor in one cell with no mats, no blankets and no running water.

“Everybody got to know about my case, so everyone was calling me names. People didn’t want to sleep next to me, everyone was just looking at me like I should be dead. It was awful. The police were saying that being gay is a European characteristic. I couldn’t give any answer as it’s not a matter of copying gay things – it’s who I am.”

When Pink Paper contacted the Home Office, they refused to comment on the case because – as a rule – they don’t respond on individual cases. However, they did say: “We have a proud tradition of offering protection to those who need it. We are committed to a fair and compassionate asylum system. Crucially we have independent oversight from Courts. We will not remove anyone who has outstanding in-country appeal rights.”

Mr X has two weeks to appeal the decision.



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