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Last Updated: Monday, 19 December 2005, 23:44 GMT
Judge attacks deportation tactics
Protester against Iraqi deportations
An earlier attempt to deport Iraqis from the UK failed in August
A Home Office practice of deporting failed asylum seekers "at about midnight in the middle of the weekend" has been condemned by a senior judge.

The government was also criticised for putting deportees onto flights to their home countries at short notice.

This caused costly emergency late-night applications to High Court judges for injunctions, said Mr Justice Collins.

A Home Office spokesman said they always consulted the courts in "any reviews of our practices".

Sitting at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Collins said: "Frankly the court has got a little fed up with how the Home Office is putting these removals into practice."

'Not good enough'

His comments came as Home Office investigators continued to search for an Iraqi Kurd, who was unlawfully deported to Iraq, to bring him back to the UK.

Justice Collins questioned why it was necessary to remove people "about midnight in the middle of the weekend".

"It is not good enough," he said.

The judge called for talks between the judiciary and the Home Office so that "sensible arrangements" could be made.

We note the comments made by Justice Collins
Home Office spokesman

He had been told how the 29-year-old Iraqi man - referred to as "Mr A" - had been forced on to a plane at Stansted Airport shortly after midnight on Sunday 20 November.

Mr A had not been given removal directions in time for him to consult lawyers.

The government said they had not been handed to him because he was considered to be at risk of self-harm or suicide.

Counsel for Home Secretary Charles Clarke said "a regrettable mistake" had been made.

The deported man was among a group of 15 Iraqi Kurds flown to Iraq after the country was declared safe for their return.

An earlier attempt to fly out returnees ended in failure in August after legal challenges were mounted.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We note the comments made by Justice Collins at today's hearing.

"He accepted that if we had adhered to our normal practice in this case there would have been no issue.

"We will consult with the courts as we always do in relation to any review of our practices."




SEE ALSO:
Exchange over asylum row tactics
27 Nov 05 |  Scotland


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