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EDITIONS
Thursday, 12 September, 2002, 07:27 GMT 08:27 UK
Afghan family ruling due
The Ahmadis
The Ahmadis: Deported in August
An Afghan family of asylum seekers who were deported to Germany after trying to claim sanctuary in a British mosque will learn on Thursday if they will be allowed back in the UK.

On Wednesday the High Court ruled the home secretary had acted unlawfully when he had the Ahmadi family deported.

Farid Ahmadi, 33, his wife Fariba, 25, and their two young children, aged five and three, were last month flown back to Germany, where they had first claimed asylum.

They travelled on a specially-chartered military jet at a cost to the taxpayer of an estimated 30,000.


The family are desperate to get back home and to get the children back to school

Paul Rowlands
Family friend

At the High Court, Mr Justice Baker said that the Home Office had acted illegally in deporting the family because ministers had failed to take into account all the aspects of the case before sending them to Germany.

Mr Justice Baker ruled the family should have been allowed to stay in the UK while they challenged their expected removal on human rights grounds that the mother and the children's mental health would suffer if they were sent back to Germany.

The judge added that Home Secretary David Blunkett had acted unlawfully in ruling that the family had "no arguable case" and their challenge to his decision was "manifestly unfounded".

Anxious wait

The judge adjourned the case until Thursday to decide what the next step should be in the light of his ruling.

The Ahmadis are said to be keen to return to the UK where they made many friends and are waiting anxiously for news from the court.

Campaigner Paul Rowlands, who is currently in Germany with the family, said: "The family are desperate to get back home and to get the children back to school."

The home secretary was expected to ask for permission to appeal against the High Court decision.

Police raid on mosque
The raid on the mosque was widely condemned

Asylum and immigration experts predict that the Ahmadi case may have a major impact on Mr Blunkett's plans to change the rights to appeal currently offered to refugees.

One of the government's most important pieces of legislation of the last year, the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill, proposes to allow the deportation of failed asylum seekers before their appeals are heard - but allowing them that right from the country they are sent to.

But Keith Best of the Immigration Advisory Service said: "This should be a warning to the Government over their changes to the appeals process.

"We believe this system would be impractical. It could also lead to injustice."

The Ahmadi family entered the UK in June 2001 after first arriving in Germany.

The family said that they had settled far better in the UK than in German, where they claim they faced racism.

Facing deportation, the family sought sanctuary in a mosque in the West Midlands town of Stourbridge until police forcibly removed them by breaking into the building.

The incident prompted an outcry from Muslims who attacked the government for its treatment of a place of worship.

Immigration minister Beverley Hughes later told a delegation of members of the Muslim Council of Britain that similar incidents would be avoided in the future.

See also:

11 Sep 02 | England
23 Aug 02 | England
14 Aug 02 | England
25 Jul 02 | England
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