ECHR to be asked to reconsider decision

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The UK will “imminently” ask the Euro pean Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to reconsider a measure that blocked some asylum seekers from being removed on the first planned Rwanda deportation flight, the High Court has been told.

The expected first flight in the controversial policy was grounded on June 14 after 11th-hour legal rulings, including from the Strasbourg-based court.

In the days leading up to the flight, several asylum seekers had asked for interim relief at the High Court in London and were denied, before some were also denied at the Court of Appeal and the UK Supreme Court refused to intervene.

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However, on the night of the flight, judges at the European Court of Human Rights granted interim measures which blocked the removal of three asylum seekers.

Home Secretary Priti PatelHome Secretary Priti Patel
Home Secretary Priti Patel

In the first interim measure from the European Court of Human Rights, judges said an Iraqi man should not be removed “until the expiry of a period of three weeks following the delivery of the final domestic decision in the ongoing judicial review proceedings”.

Court of Appeal judges also granted injunctions to three asylum seekers, with the court confirming that three judges held an urgent hearing at 9.50pm on June 14 – just 40 minutes before the flight was due to take off.

These injunctions prevented the removal of the men until after a challenge against the decision of Mr Justice Swift to reject their bids to remain in the UK pending the full judicial review of the Rwanda relocation policy next month.

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At a High Court hearing yesterday, the court heard that the Home Office would be challenging the European court’s interim measure – known as a rule 39 indication.

In written submissions, Jack Anderson, for the department, said: “The defendant will resist any further application for a rule 39 indication and, further, the UK will be applying to the European Court of Human Rights to reconsider the rule 39 indication on an urgent basis.”

In Parliament, a Home Office minister was asked by the SNP’s Stuart C McDonald to confirm that Home Secretary Priti Patel will not be “gambling on another utterly reckless, degrading and expensive attempt at these removals” before the judicial review.

A Court of Appeal hearing is now expected on June 28.