Tempaorary Deportation Reprieve for Afusat Saliu and Daughters
Billionaire businessman Sir Richard Branson came under increasing pressure (more than 1,000 tweets calling on him to intervene personally) on Thursday to personally step in to prevent the deportation of a Nigerian mother and her two small girls.
The family who was due to be deported on Thursday evening 29/05/14, and who feared that her two young daughters would be at risk of female genital mutilation as a result, has been given a last-minute reprieve, the Guardian has learned.
Afusat Saliu and her two daughters were taken from their home in Leeds and driven to London ahead of the planned deportation, which their lawyer said breached Home Office rules because they were not given the requisite notice. But, in a letter seen by the Guardian, the government's lawyers cancelled their removal.
Afusat's lawyer Bhumika Parmar of BP Legal said she has not been told why the government decided to take the step, but speculated that it could be a result of pressure placed on the airline that was due to carry out the deportation Virgin Atlantic. However, she said, it could equally be as a result of pressure placed on the government to ensure that the family has been given 72 hours' notice.
The letter, from the Treasury Solicitor to Saliu's lawyer, read that the removal would not go ahead, but warned that it was only a temporary measure.
Virgin Atlantic came under pressure earlier on Thursday after it emerged that it was due to deport the Saliu family. Both Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and his daughter Holly, who is a senior figure at the group's management services arm, have spoken out against FGM in the past.
In a statement on Thursday evening, they reiterated their objection to FGM and called on both the British and Nigerian governments to ensure the Saliu family's safety regardless of whether or not they are eventually deported.
Read more: Kevin Rawlinson, Guardian <> 29/05/14
Afusat Saliu & Daughters Captured and Taken to The Cedars
A mother who claimed asylum fearing that her daughters would be mutilated if they were sent back to Nigeria is due to be deported after being detained on Wednesday, her supporters have said. Afusat Saliu, 31, and her two daughters, Basirat, three, and Rashidat, one, have been taken into custody by Home Office officials and transported from their home in Leeds to London for removal, the family's lawyer told the Guardian.
Read more: Kevin Rawlinson, Guardian, <>29/05/14
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Pregnant Pakistani Woman Stoned to Death
Farzana Parveen, aged 25, was stoned to death by her own family in front of a Pakistani high court on Tuesday for marrying the man she loved. Nearly 20 members of the woman's family, including her father and brothers, attacked her and her husband with batons and bricks in broad daylight before a crowd of onlookers in front of the high court of Lahore, police investigator Rana Mujahid said. Hundreds of women are murdered every year in Muslim-majority Pakistan in so-called " honour killings" – carried out by husbands or relatives as a punishment for alleged adultery or other illicit sexual behaviour – but public stoning is extremely rare.
Read more: Guardian 27/05/14
Deportation Reprieve for Northern Ireland Family
A Londonderry man's Colombian-born wife, who could have been deported on Friday, has been given a reprieve. Laura Durán, the wife of artist Ciarán Ó Dochartaigh, had a deportation order deferred for six months after travelling to Heathrow with her family. The pair, who have a one-year-old son, Emilio, said they are afraid the family will be broken up if Ms Duran was deported.
Mr Ó Dochartaigh said it was a "small victory". He said it was the second time the family had gone to Heathrow in the last two weeks without knowing whether Ms Durán would be deported or not. But I think we were more determined this time that she wasn't leaving," he said. It's a respite. We can get ourselves together and continue fighting."
Read more: BBC News, <> 23/05/14
Aidah Asaba Back Home Where She Belongs
Following submission of a fresh asylum claim by Wilson Solicitors the Home Office have cancelled removal directions and released Aidah from detentio today Friday 23rd May.
SSHD (Appellant) v MN and KY (Respondent)  UKSC 30
Judgement: The Supreme Court unanimously dismisses the appeal. Lord Carnwath gives the lead judgment, with which Lord Neuberger, Lord Clarke, Lord Hughes and Lord Hodge agree.
On appeal from  CSIH 68
Justices: Lord Neuberger (President), Lord Clarke, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hughes and Lord Hodge
Background to the Appeals
It is central to each of the appellant's claims for asylum that they came from a particular region of Somalia where they were at risk of persecution. In each case, in dismissing those claims, the Secretary of State relied on linguistic analysis to the effect that their mode of speaking was linked to Kenya not Somalia. That evidence came in the form of "linguistic analysis reports" provided by a Swedish commercial organisation called "Sprakab". Those decisions were upheld on appeal to the Upper Tribunal ("UT") but reversed by the Inner House which made a number of criticisms of the form of the reports and the reliance placed on them by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal ("AIT").
In another case raising similar issues, a special three-judge panel of the Upper Tribunal gave guidance on the use of such reports in the future. They endorsed the use of the Sprakab reports, subject to certain safeguards. Their approach was in general supported by the Court of Appeal in RB (Somalia) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 277 ("RB").
The issues for consideration by the Supreme Court are:
Whether the immigration judges were entitled to attribute any weight to the Sprakab reports;
In what circumstances should witnesses providing evidence in such appeals be granted anonymity;
Whether there are any particular rules governing expert evidence tendered in the name of an organisation rather than an individual;
To what extent can such evidence be accepted in a form not prescribed by the Practice Directions; and
To what extent, and with what effect, can the Upper Tribunal give guidance as to the weight to be given to such reports, or the conclusions to be drawn from them.
Reasons for the Judgment
The Practice Directions contain valuable guidance on the general principles applying to expert evidence. The absence of any specific provision in the Practice Directions for evidence in the form of the Sprakab reports was not in itself a bar to their admission. Where the tribunals were faced with a new form of evidence, of potential value in resolving issues of common occurrence, it was entirely appropriate for the UT to select a suitable case with a view to giving general guidance. The Practice Directions did not have to be rigidly applied. The UT were right in RB to address questions relating to Sprakab, its methodology and the presentation of its reports. Subject to appropriate safeguards, they were entitled to find no objection of principle to the admission of Sprakab reports [34-37].
The AIT has the power to make a direction for anonymity but in respect of an individual expert witness its exercise requires special justification. Sprakab's policy of anonymity would not absolve the tribunal of its duty to examine of itself the evidence said to justify a departure from the normal rule. However, there were valid reasons for taking a less strict view in the present context. This was not anonymous evidence in the ordinary sense. The evidence was advanced, and the expertise claimed, on behalf of an organisation, based on the collaborative work of individuals with different skills within it. There was no doubt about the identity of the organisation, its working methods or the qualifications and experience of those involved in preparing its report. The names of the individuals were available to the tribunal, and could have been made known to the parties if it became necessary to do so, for example to pursue a particular line of cross-examination. Subject to appropriate safeguards, and to satisfy themselves that in the circumstances of the particular case no prejudice was caused, the Upper Tribunal were entitled to determine that there was no objection in principle to anonymity [42-43].
For the most part, the general guidance given by the UT was helpful and appropriate but on two aspects the guidance appears unduly prescriptive and potentially misleading. The first is as to the weight to be given to such evidence in future cases. It seems to underplay the importance in any case of the tribunal itself examining such a report critically in the light of all the evidence, and of the reasoning supporting its conclusion. The other concern is similar, relating to the guidance on anonymity. It is important to emphasise that it would remain the duty of the tribunal in any future case to determine what justice requires, in the light of the evidence and submissions made to them [44-50].
In the present cases, there are clear reasons for dismissing the appeals on their own facts. The comments in the reports (upon which the Secretary of State originally relied) on knowledge of country and culture were inadequately supported by any demonstrated expertise of the authors. In some respects the evidence went beyond the proper role of a witness. Expert witnesses should never act or appear to act as advocates. The judge in the UT was entitled to regard the guidance in RB as persuasive on the procedural matters covered by it, but it was no substitute for a critical analysis of the particular reports relied on and of the reasoning of the first tribunal [52-60].
Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 80
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between 14th and 27th May 2014 - Volume 80 <> here . . .
Migrant Killed After Attack by G4S Guards, Inquiry Finds
A deadly riot at an Australian offshore immigration detention centre involved brutal attacks by staff from Britain's scandal-prone G4S security firm as well as local police and the Salvation Army, an inquiry has found. The violence followed weeks of tension and led to the death of Reza Barati, a 23-year-old asylum seeker, who was killed after an attack initiated by a Salvation Army member of staff. The assault continued with attacks by G4S staff and others, before someone threw a rock at Barati's head.
Read more: Jonathan Pearlman, Telegraph, <> 26/05/14
Serco Whistleblower's Yarl's Wood Sex Claim
A former senior Serco official who worked inside the Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre has alleged that an anti-immigration culture was "endemic" among staff, and that vulnerable women have been deported without their mental health being properly assessed.
The claims came after the Observer revealed last week that the private outsourcing giant is to be investigated by MPs when it was forced to disclose a secret internal report revealing evidence that it failed to properly investigate a claim of repeated sexual assaults by one of its staff against a female resident. The whistleblower also claimed that another alleged case of sexual assault by a Serco member of staff occurred in August 2012, involving a particularly vulnerable detainee with profound psychological issues. It is understood she has since been deported. The claims come from the first senior employee to have broken rank since the immigration detention centre – which is so tightly guarded that the Home Office recently banned the United Nations from entry – opened in 2001.
Read more: Mark Townsend, Observer, <> 24/05/14
Farooqi Family Defeat Governments Attempt to Seize Their Home
The first attempt to seize the home of a convicted terrorist using new laws has failed, after a judge ruled it would be unfair to make his family homeless. The Crown Prosecution Service applied for the forfeiture of a house where extremist Munir Farooqi, 56, attempted to recruit jihadist fighters to kill British soldiers in Afghanistan. They used new powers under Section 23A of the Terrorism Act 2000 to apply for the seizure of Farooqi's £200,000 home in the Longsight area of Manchester.
But in a landmark ruling yesterday at the High Court in Manchester, senior law lord Sir Richard Henriques QC, rejected the application on the grounds it would make Farooqi's "wholly innocent" family homeless. The ruling is a blow as it was intended to send out a strong message to terrorists that properties would be seized if they used them for terrorist activity. Explaining his decision, Sir Richard said: "It should not be cited as a case of the human rights legislation protecting a terrorist's family. It is a case where judicial discretion is afforded to ensure that wholly innocent citizens are not adversely affected by a forfeiture order, depriving them of their home. I am satisfied that if I were to make the order, I would run the risk of these wholly innocent adults and children becoming homeless."
Read more: Martin Evans, Telegraph, <>23/05/14
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Immigration Act 2014 - Summary Provisions
You will no doubt be aware that the Immigration Bill that has been the focus of so much of JCWI work received Royal Assent on 14 May. The Act, as it is now know survived what few attempts there were to amend it and is pretty much in the discriminatory shape that the Government intended. You can download a copy of the summary provisions drawn up by Saira Grant from Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI)
Immigration Act 2014 Summary Provisions.<>pdf