Home Office Unlawfully Imprisoned Asylum Seekers, Supreme Court Rules

The Home Office “falsely imprisoned” many asylum seekers who are now entitled to damages for their loss of liberty at the hands of the government, five supreme court judges have ruled. Thousands of asylum seekers are likely to be affected, many survivors of torture, trafficking and other forms of persecution. Their compensation could run into millions of pounds. The people implicated in the ruling were locked up between 1 January 2014, when an EU law known as Dublin III came into force, and 15 March 2017, when UK regulations changed.

Under the Dublin regulations, asylum seekers should claim asylum in the first EU country they reach, with the receiving country checking their fingerprints against a European database. If they are found to have first claimed asylum in another EU country they can be sent back to that country to have their claim processed. Many of those people for whom the Home Office found a fingerprint match in another EU country were locked up in preparation for removal to that country. However, under the Dublin III rules only those deemed to be at “significant risk of absconding” should be incarcerated before removal.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,

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