Yesterday the Home Office admitted that they were searching for an Iraqi Kurd who had been unlawfully deported to Iraq. A senior High Court judge was told by the counsel for the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, that it was “a regrettable mistake” and that they were now seeking to find the man to bring him back to the UK.
Counsel for the Home Secretary admitted there had been a policy breach because the Iraqi in question had not been given removal directions in time for him to consult his lawyers. Mr Justice Collins asked why it was necessary to remove people at midnight in the middle of the weekend. He was reported in the Independent as saying “”There has been too much of this recently. Frankly the court has got a little fed up with how the Home Office is putting these removals into practice. It is not good enough.”
In response to today’s High Court ruling that an Iraqi Kurd was wrongfully returned to Iraq, Tim Finch, Director of Communications at the Refugee Council said:
“This case has shown that the way the Home Office handled the forced removals to Iraq last month was deeply flawed. People were rounded up without warning, detained without information, and were not able access to legal representation to challenge their removal. Given this situation, we repeatedly urged the government not to go ahead with the flight, but it ignored our appeals. Now we have the farcical situation of officials chasing around to find someone in Iraq who the Home Office admits shouldn’t have been removed in the first place.
“More generally, Justice Collins is right to point out that short notice, late night removals at the weekend are a recipe for injustice. The Refugee Council recognises that people who are found not to have a need of protection in the UK should be removed. But the process must be done in a safe and dignified way.”