Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Detained African lecturer to sue immigration body

An African university lecturer taking legal action against the Government after being arrested in Belfast under immigration laws is to return home to fight his case, a court has heard.

The removal of Congolese engineer Jean-Pierre Djimbonge (51) from the UK had been put on hold to allow his judicial review against the UK Border Agency to proceed.

But a judge in Belfast High Court yesterday lifted the stay on the removal after hearing that the hydraulics and thermo-dynamics expert wanted to go back to Africa.

Mr Justice Ronnie Weatherup said his order was subject to Mr Djimbonge's consent.

The lecturer was arrested in Belfast earlier this month and was held for a fortnight in a number of detention centres across the UK under immigration legislation.

However, the academic claims he was travelling legitimately and had appropriate visa documents.

He has now taken a case against the UK Border Agency.

At yesterday’s initial hearing, Mr Djimbonge's lawyer, Steven McQuitty, said he would need another week to prepare and review legal documents, including the transcript of an interview with his client and an immigration officer. But he said the lecturer, who was not in court, wanted to return home before then.

“The applicant wishes to return to his country of origin but still wishes to fight his case,” he said.

Noting that Mr Djimbonge's decision to fly home had taken some of the immediate urgency out of resolving the case, Justice Weatherup agreed to sit again on October 9.

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