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Hunger striker given more time

A "gravely ill" asylum seeker w hose chartered deportation flight was turned back last week has been granted more time in his fight to remain in Britain.

Isa Muazu, who had been on hunger strike since September, was returned to the UK on Friday after a private plane meant to be taking him back to Nigeria did not land in the country.

The attempt to remove him failed as Nigerian authorities refused the plane carrying Mr Muazu permission to land, his lawyers said.

The 45-year-old, whose hunger strike reportedly lasted more than 100 days, has been detained since he claimed asylum in July.

His solicitors at firm Duncan Lewis have been granted a stay of removal for Mr Muazu pending the outcome of an oral judicial review hearing to be heard by the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber).

Toufique Hossain, public law and immigration law director of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, said: " We welcome this order restraining the Secretary of State for the Home Department in relation to any further attempt at removal until the outcome of the oral hearing, this is what we wanted all along, and thanks to the Home Secretary's incompetence we now have it."

Mr Muazu, who despite being 5ft 11in (1.8m) tall, at one time weighed just eight stone (53kg), claims he faces persecution from the militant Islamic group Boko Haram if he returns to Nigeria, but has lost a series of legal challenges.

He has said that he came to the UK "for a better life", and would "rather die" than face removal.

Following representations raised by Mr Muaza's solicitors, Upper Tribunal Judge Lane ordered an urgent hearing and that the Home Secretary be restrained from removing the asylum seeker until the outcome of the hearing.

The Judicial Review is to focus on the challenge to the Home Secretary's decision to certify his asylum claim and remove him to Nigeria.

Following the refusal of his lawyers' injunction to prevent Mr Muaza's removal on November 28, the Home Office attempted to remove him by private jet.

Since returning to the UK, Mr Muaza has been returned to the medical wing at Harmondsworth Immigration Detention Centre in west London.

Emma Norton, legal officer for human rights campaigners Liberty, said: " Immigration detention is only supposed to be used sparingly and as a last resort yet this innocent man was detained for five months before the Home Office tried to remove him.

"It is their delay and inefficiency that has enabled this desperately sad situation to develop. Common humanity now demands his immediate release to enable him to recover."


From Belfast Telegraph