By Rebeccca Carr, published by Free Movement.

In a recent decision from Strasbourg, the European Court of Human Rights has found the UK Home Office unlawfully detained a Zimbabwean national. The Court found that the UK authorities had failed to act with sufficient “due diligence” in progressing the Applicant’s case, leading to him being detained for over two and a half years in an immigration removal centre.

Background

The applicant was born in Zimbabwe. He arrived in the UK in May 2001 and was granted six months’ leave to enter as a visitor.

Fast forward to 2007, (a few driving offences and a failed asylum claim later), the Applicant was convicted of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply. He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and was later served with a notice of liability to automatic deportation. As a consequence, when he completed his sentence on 28 November 2008, he remained in detention.

The Applicant has a history of significant mental conditions, including a mental illness which led him to hear voices, at least two attempted suicides and a six-day hospital section.

On 27 March 2008, the Applicant made a second asylum application. On 3 November 2009 the Applicant’s representatives asked the Government to allow them more time to submit medical evidence supporting the Applicant’s asylum claim. A medical report was not submitted until November 2010, despite three chasers from the Secretary of State in relation to this.

On 8 February 2011 the Secretary of State refused the Applicant’s second asylum claim and made a deportation order. This decision was challenged and eventually, on 20 November 2012, the Upper Tribunal allowed the Applicant’s appeal on human rights grounds.

The applicant was also released from detention on 15 September 2011 after being granted bail by the Upper Tribunal.

Read the article at Free Movement