High Court judge attacks government for not following procedures in Afghan cases
The government has been attacked by a High Court judge for not following procedures in the cases of nine Afghans who were involved in the hostage situation at Stansted Airport in 2000 and who were subsequently granted leave to remain after claiming asylum.
Justice Sullivan expressed his anger over the way ministers failed to follow correct legal procedures and “deliberately delayed” implementing an adjudication appeal panel’s decision from June 2004 which meant that, under human rights law, the nine could not be sent back to Afghanistan, where their lives would be at risk.
The judge also made an unprecedented order that the Home Office should pay legal costs on an indemnity basis – the highest level possible – to show his “disquiet and concern”.
Commenting on today’s ruling by Justice Sullivan in the High Court , Tim Finch, Director of Communications for the Refugee Council said:
“No one wants to see hi-jacking rewarded or encouraged, but the fact is successive courts have ruled that these men were fleeing from a tyrannical regime, faced death if they were returned and should be allowed to stay in the UK.
The government can’t just ignore that and bend the rules because it doesn’t want to look soft on hi-jacking.
Millions of pounds have been wasted on fighting this case and keeping the men involved in a legal limbo
We don’t want to see people hi-jacking planes, but the fact is this was an exceptional case. No one, before or since, has used this method to flee their country and claim asylum. And in this case, it is time to accept that the men do need protection here and they should be allowed to get on with their lives and contribute to the UK.”
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BBC News: ‘Nine Afghans win ruling’