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Failed asylum seeker who claimed to be fleeing from Boko Haram deported from UK near death after 100-day hunger strike

By News Express on 30/11/2013

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A Nigerian from the troubled north-eastern state of Borno who fled to Britain and sought asylum on the grounds that he was in danger of being killed by Boko Haram insurgents has been deported near death after 100-day hunger strike that brought him no mercy.

Ifa Muaza, said to be near death after refusing food in protest at ‘unfair treatment’, was deported yesterday morning by private jet, according to The Guardian of London.

“The Home Office has confirmed that a failed asylum seeker who was said to be near death after a hunger strike that has lasted nearly 100 days has been deported from Britain,” the paper said.

“Lawyers for Ifa Muaza, aged 45, from Nigeria say the Home Office has confirmed he was deported at 8am on Friday on a private jet,” it added.

Providing further details of the case, The Guardian said: “Muaza had been refusing food for more than three months in protest at his detention in Harmondsworth immigration removal centre, near Heathrow, and at the ‘unfair treatment’ of his asylum claim.

“His removal went ahead despite attempts to obtain a last-minute injunction and a 120-strong vigil outside the Home Office.

“His solicitor, Toufique Hossain of the law firm Duncan Lewis, said the home secretary, Theresa May, had gone to great lengths to remove ‘this seriously ill man from the UK’.

“Hossain said: ‘She didn’t allow him an in-country right of appeal against his asylum refusal. At massive expense to taxpayers she hired a private charter plane to remove Mr Muaza to Nigeria today – no other returnee was on the plane. For the out-of-hours injunction she instructed Queen’s counsel to make submissions. The court was not willing to intervene at such a late stage.

“ ‘We do not know how Mr Muaza is, as we lost contact with him late last night. We fear for his safety now on return but we will be looking at pursuing further appeals if we do make contact with him in Nigeria. He should not have been removed from the UK.’

“Home Office lawyers said at his latest detention review that Muaza had been declared fit to travel and plans were under way for his return.

“Lord Roberts, who intends to raise the case in parliament next week, said Muaza’s potential death on a flight or upon arrival in Nigeria was a tragedy and accused May of ‘allowing people to die to score a political point’.

“ ‘We urgently need to review the systems of immigration detention, fast track and enforced removal,’ he said.

“Muaza’s plight attracted widespread support including from the Liberal Democrat peer Lady Williams and Green MP Caroline Lucas.”

•Photo, courtesy The Guardian, shows Harmondsworth detention centre, where Ifa Muaza was on hunger strike until his deportation.

Source News Express

Posted 30/11/2013 9:26:54 PM


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