News & Views Monday 10th October to Sunday 16th October 2016  

Syrian's Conviction For Using False Passport in Asylum Claim Quashed

A Syrian refugee has successfully appealed against his conviction for using false documents to claim asylum in the UK after spending six months in prison. Roudi Chikho, 30, had his conviction quashed at the court of appeal on Thursday. “At last I can move on with my life,” he said. “I knew I had done nothing wrong but I spent six months in jail and got a criminal record.” Chikho, a Kurd, had been secretly filming atrocities carried out by the government of Bashar al-Assad and publishing his footage via al-Jazeera, YouTube and other media outlets before being forced to flee the country.  He crossed the Syrian border into Turkey and a people smuggler then took him to Spain, where he boarded a plane to London. He arrived at Gatwick in December 2012, having travelled on a false Canadian passport. He was arrested, placed before magistrates, convicted of travelling on false documents, stripped of his £2,619 savings and sentenced to a year in Lewes prison, in East Sussex.

 “I was with all these criminals, but didn’t think of myself as a criminal,” Chikho said. “There was a lot of fighting and violence in the prison. I saw many terrible things in Syria, but the first time I cried was when I was in Lewes prison. It was horrible to see all the violence there.” Two months into Chikho’s sentence, the Home Office granted him refugee status for five years. But he had to serve another four months of his sentence while waiting to appeal against his conviction.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,

B.A.C. v. Greece 14 Year Wait for Asylum Decision Breach of Articles 8 & 13

European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, a violation of Article 8 in conjunction with Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the Convention, and that there would be: a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) in conjunction with Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) if Mr B.A.C. were returned to Turkey.

The case concerned an asylum-seeker waiting for a decision from the authorities since 2002. The Court found in particular that the failure by the authorities to determine the applicant’s asylum application for a period of more than 14 years without any justification had breached the positive obligations inherent in his right to respect for his private life. Furthermore, while waiting for a decision on his asylum application, the applicant’s legal status remained uncertain, thus putting him in danger of being returned to Turkey, where there was a substantial risk that he might be subjected to treatment breaching Article 3 of the Convention.

Early Day Motion 523: Protecting Humanitarian Workers

That this House expresses its outrage at the bombing of a UN aid convoy on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Aleppo, killing an estimated 20 civilians and destroying 18 UN trucks and their cargo of vital supplies destined for communities in areas controlled by opponents of the Assad regime; further expresses particular concern at evidence that this was a revenge attack by Russian or Syrian government forces for an air strike the previous weekend by the US-led coalition against Daesh, which was intended to target Daesh fighters, but resulted in the death of Syrian soldiers whose presence in the area had not been made known to the coalition; notes that Ban Ki-moon used his farewell address to the UN general assembly to denounce the attack as a sickening, savage and apparently deliberate attack and described the bombers as cowards, with UN officials indicating that they may be guilty of a war crime; calls on all parties to the Syrian conflict to make every effort to protect the safety and security of participants in UN and other humanitarian efforts as they assist civilian populations trapped between multiple warring factions; and invites António Guterres, the incoming UN General Secretary, to adopt as a top priority a programme of action, including a strengthened war crimes regime, to tackle the ever-growing impact of conflicts on civilians and the challenges facing UN staff and others attempting to support populations remaining in conflict zones.

Sponsors: Oswald, Kirsten, Grady, Patrick O'Hara, Brendan Gibson, Patricia Gethins, Stephen Grant, Peter House of Commons: 11.10.2016 -

Email Your MP for Free – Demand They Sign EDM 523 -

Open Consultation: Expedited Immigration and Asylum Appeals For Detained Appellants

The government is consulting on proposals for an expedited appeals process for detained immigration and asylum appellants. Any new process needs to balance speed and efficiency with accessibility and fairness.
The key proposals in this consultation are:

  • that there needs to be new dedicated rules for detained appellants within the principal rules
  • to apply the expedited appeals process to all appellants detained in Immigration Removal Centres or prison who appeal a Home Office immigration decision
  • a suggested revised timescale from the point of the Home Office decision to the appeal being determined
  • whether there should be a case management review stage in the appeal process
  • the government should charge a fee to bring an appeal.

Tribunal rules are made by the Tribunal Procedure Committee (TPC) and this consultation looks at what the policy behind new rules should be.
Tribunal rules are made by the Tribunal Procedure Committee (TPC) and this consultation looks at what the policy behind new rules should be.
Responses to this consultation can be made completing the online survey or sent to Expedited Appeals Process Consultation, Administrative Justice, 3.38, Ministry of Justice, 102 Petty France, London, SW1H 9AJ or by email at

Give us your views   -  Online Survey  -  Closes 22 Nov 2016

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Legal Aid Cuts Creating Two-Tier Justice System, Says Amnesty

Cuts to legal aid are far worse than anticipated and are creating a “two-tier” system which denies the poorest people access to justice, warns a critical report by Amnesty International. The government should conduct an urgent review of the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (Laspo) Act, which came into effect in 2013 and has severely restricted funding, the study says. A review has been promised within three to five years but ministers have delayed. The year before the act was introduced, legal aid was granted in 925,000 cases, Amnesty points out. The year after, assistance was given in 497,000 cases, a drop of 46%. The report calls for all children to be granted entitlement to legal aid regardless of the issues at stake. Some teenagers, it says, are at risk of having to represent themselves in immigration cases where they may face deportation. The report highlights the emergence of “advice deserts” across England and Wales where the provision of free legal advice is disappearing. Worst affected are said to be the south-west, parts of the Midlands and the north of England.

Read more: Owen Bowcott, Guardian,


Extradition to Taiwan Refused Due to Real Risk of Ill Treatment

The High Court of Justiciary Appeal Court ruled last week that there were substantial grounds for believing that the extradition of Zain Dean to Taiwan would be incompatible with article 3 of the ECHR due to the real risk of ill treatment in Taipei prison. Mr. Dean, a 44-year-old UK citizen, faced extradition to Taiwan. He was convicted of negligent manslaughter following a drink-driving accident and sentenced to four years in prison. He absconded to Scotland and became the subject of Taiwan's first extradition case. A memorandum of understanding concerning the extradition was entered into between the Home Office and the judicial authorities of Taiwan and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Extradition proceedings took place in 2014 and on 11 June 2014 Sheriff Maciver discharged Mr. Dean's arguments and sent the case to the Scottish Ministers to decide whether he should be extradited. On 1 August 2014 The Scottish Ministers made an extradition order to return Mr. Dean to Taiwan. He appealed to the High Court arguing that the Sheriff had erred in law and in his decision that that Art 3 and 6 would not be violated. An evidential hearing was directed to decide the issue concerning Art. 3 and prison conditions.  At various stages of the proceedings, undertakings were given by the Taiwanese authorities that Mr. Dean would be subject to special treatment in prison, ensuring he would not be subject to ill treatment, especially in light of the media's negative coverage and his unpopularity in Taiwan.

Dr. McManus was instructed by the Crown to inspect the prison conditions Mr. Dean would be subject to. He visited Taipei prison where he was shown some areas of the prison and the cell Mr. Dean would occupy. He concluded in his report that the special conditions Mr. Dean would be kept in would not reach the minimum level of severity required to constitute a breach of Art 3 of ECHR, however, he did not give the same opinion in relation to the conditions of the main detention building, in particular overcrowding and understaffing.  Due to this, the Court concluded that it was highly doubtful that the prison, even with well trained and motivated staff, had the capacity to be able to provide sufficient protection for Mr. Dean.

Posted by Gherson:

Britain ‘Ignored Plea B by France’ to Aid Stranded Calais Child Refugees

The Home Office has refused to respond to official requests from the French authorities to accept unaccompanied child refugees stranded in Calais who are eligible to come to Britain, the British Red Cross has said. With the planned demolition of Calais’s refugee camp only weeks away, the Red Cross says the Home Office is turning down “take charge” requests by the French on often pedantic grounds. Once such a request has been accepted by the UK government it is in effect responsible for a child who is seeking asylum. In some cases British officials claim to have “misplaced” requests from the French to help children, raising questions over Britain’s approach to what humanitarian experts call an urgent child protection issue. The camp is scheduled to be demolished this month, with no provision agreed by the British and French for most of the 1,000 unaccompanied minors there, of whom at least 400 are eligible to enter the UK.

Read more: Mark Townsend, Guardian,

Charity Takes Legal Action Against Home Office Over Child Refugees

Lawyers for a leading refugee charity have begun legal proceedings against the Home Office, arguing that ministers have failed in obligations to give sanctuary to some of the thousands of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Europe. Help Refugees says the home secretary, Amber Rudd, has breached her relocation duties to some unaccompanied children in Europe, by misconstruing or misapplying the May Immigration Act under which the government was obliged to take some children into the UK. The legal papers state that because of this failure it “is incontestable that the unaccompanied children” whom the legislation is intended to assist “are exposed to serious risks of abuse and exploitation”. Help Refugees’ action comes amid rising concern for the safety of several hundred unaccompanied refugee children in Calais, with just one week left before demolition of the unofficial refugee camp is expected to begin.

Read more: Amelia Gentleman, Guardian,

MST and Others (National Service – Risk Categories) Eritrea CG

[Page 156 - “Country guidance” is an established term denoting judicial guidance and adoption by the Home Office of terminology apt to confuse this important fact is to be deprecated.]

A new country guidance case on Eritrea confronts greater challenges than usual because of the fact that presently views about the nature and extent of the risk awaiting Eritreans faced with forcible return to their country are extremely polarised. On one side, there is a solid phalanx of reputable bodies and individuals including the United Nations Commission of Inquiry (UNCOI), UNHCR, Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) who contend or imply that we should maintain or extend the risk categories identified by the Tribunal in its existing country guidance in MA (Draft evaders – illegal departures – risk) Eritrea CG [2007] UKAIT 00059 and MO (illegal exit – risk on return) Eritrea CG [2011] UKUT 00190 (IAC). Ranged on this side are those representing the appellants who are joined by UNHCR as intervener in arguing that the situation in Eritrea has worsened. In support of this view UNHCR among others points out that in the first 10 months of 2014, the number of Eritrean asylum seekers arriving in Europe nearly tripled, from 13,000 the previous year to 37,000. In 2014 Eritreans were the second largest group after Syrians apprehended at European Union external borders trying to enter in an irregular manner and the second largest group of asylum seekers in the European Union. Many of the fatalities in the Mediterranean were said to be Eritrean. They consider that this increase reflects worsening conditions in Eritrea.


 459. For the above reasons we conclude: The First-tier Tribunal in the cases of MST, MYK and AA materially erred in law and their decisions have been set aside.

The decisions we re-make are to dismiss the appeals of MST and MYK but to allow the appeal of AA.

Published on Refworld, 11/10/2016