Monday, July 16, 2012

Judge who let Taliban soldier remain in Britain now allows refugee who raped girl, 12, stay in UK

A Sudanese asylum seeker who raped a 12-year-old girl has been allowed to remain in Britain – after a judge ruled it would breach his human rights to deport him.

Sani Adil Ali was jailed for raping the girl just months after he was given refugee status.

When he was sentenced, another judge described him as ‘a potential danger to young girls’ and put him on the Sex Offenders’ Register for the rest of his life.

But after serving a three-year sentence, an immigration tribunal ruled Ali could stay in Britain on the grounds that he could be in danger if he returned to Sudan.

Senior immigration judge Jonathan Perkins allowed the 28-year-old to remain in Britain, even though the rapist’s probation officers found that he presented some risk to young people.

In his ruling, Judge Perkins said: ‘We find that the appellant is still entitled to the protection of the Refugee Convention and the Qualification Directive.

'In any event, removing him would be contrary to the United Kingdom’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.’

It is not the first time that Judge Perkins has made a controversial decision. Last month, The Mail on Sunday reported how he allowed an Afghan Muslim, who claimed he killed people while fighting for the Taliban, to remain in Britain.

It has also been reported that Judge Perkins has often allowed foreign criminals to remain in Britain because of their ‘right to a family life’ under the Human Rights Act.

His latest decision is another setback for Home Secretary Theresa May, whose plans to crack down on the way foreign criminals use human rights to avoid being deported appear to be repeatedly undermined by the courts.

Charlie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover & Deal, who has tabled a Bill to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights, said: ‘Britain will always be there to provide refuge to those in need. But people who commit crimes here should be sent back immediately.

‘Right-thinking people in Britain will be appalled that this person will be allowed to stay here. It sums up what is wrong with the European human rights laws.

‘We should have zero tolerance of refugees who commit crimes. Cases like this are why I have tabled a British Bill of Rights so we can control our borders and ensure that foreign criminals and terrorists are deported immediately.’

Ali, who is from the Darfur region, arrived in Britain in October 2003 and was awarded refugee status in February 2005.

But two months later he was arrested at his address in Middlesbrough over the rape of a 12-year-old  Hungarian girl.

Ali had attacked her while staying with her family during a five-day trip to Sheffield. The victim’s family had offered to put him up while he visited his friend, Kamel Ahmed, then 22, also from Darfur.

Ali and Ahmed knew each other and the girl’s family from refugee camps in Italy and France.

Ali, who pleaded guilty to one count of child rape, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment at Sheffield Crown Court. Ahmed was convicted of three counts of child rape and jailed for ten years.

Judge Michael Murphy QC, said: ‘I regard each of you as a potential danger to young girls and so each of you will be banned for the rest of your life from ever taking up a job which involves working with children under 16.’

When Ali was released from Doncaster jail in 2008, the Home Office ordered that he return to Sudan and he was locked up in an immigration removal centre.

Ali appealed to the immigration court and when a judge rejected his bid, he mounted a fresh appeal to the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber.

At the Sheffield hearing, Judge Perkins ruled that removing Ali, who comes from the Zaghawa tribe, would breach his rights under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture or inhumane punishment.

Judge Perkins referred to a 2009 ruling which stated that non-Arab tribes such as the Zaghawa are ‘at risk of persecution in Darfur and cannot reasonably be expected to relocate elsewhere in Sudan’.

The judge also said Ali could not be deported because he was not a danger to the public, and therefore could not have his refugee status taken away from him.

He said that even though his probation officers found he ‘presented some risk to young people’, Ali had ‘faced up to his responsibilities and indicated an intention to behave himself in the future’.

It is believed Ali was allowed to leave the immigration removal centre around 2009 and then moved to Newcastle, and still lives in the North East. It is not known if he received legal aid to fund his immigration fight.

Last night the Government admitted it was powerless in the face of the tribunal’s decision, with an aide to Mrs May stressing there was nothing the Home Secretary could do. ‘We are at the mercy of the courts,’ they said.

The UK Border Agency said: ‘We do not believe this individual needs or deserves refuge in this country.’


American Samoa: Lawsuit seeks US citizenship
 A group of five people have filed a federal lawsuit arguing they should be U.S. citizens by virtue of being born in American Samoa, the only U.S. territory that doesn't grant that birthright.

The lawsuit filed this week in Washington, D.C., challenges the constitutionality of federal laws that make those born in American Samoa U.S. nationals but not citizens like those born in other territories.

In Puerto Rico, territorial status grants residents U.S. citizenship, but they pay no federal income taxes and cannot vote in presidential elections. Their congressional representative also cannot vote in Congress.

Those born in American Samoa are considered nationals, who also don't pay federal income taxes and can't vote for president. Nationals must follow the same procedures for naturalization as those who are permanent legal residents, which includes taking tests on English proficiency and American civics, even though English is widely spoken in American Samoa and public schools teach U.S. history.

"If we are American Samoans, then why not citizens? I believe American Samoans deserve the same right and benefits as all other Americans," said lead plaintiff Leneuoti Tuaua.

Tuaua wanted to pursue a law enforcement career in California but couldn't because of his status as a U.S. national, according to the complaint. He and fellow plaintiffs Fanuatanu Mamea and Emy Afalava live in the territory. Plaintiff Vaaleama Fosi lives in Honolulu, while Taffy-Lei Maene lives in Seattle.

Statutes have been passed in other territories defining them as part of the United States and entitling people born there to U.S. citizenship. But not everyone in American Samoa wants that, explained Margaret Stock, an immigration attorney in Alaska who often handles cases involving American Samoa nationals.

Being a citizen at birth would mean all of the U.S. Constitution applies, which would prevent certain communal land ownership rules unique to American Samoa, such as favoring those with Samoan blood, Stock said.

"This has been a big debate in American Samoa for a long time," she said.

Home to 56,000 people, American Samoa is also a place that holds tight to its culture and heritage.

The territory's nonvoting delegate in Congress, Eni Faleomavaega, said Thursday he doesn't think citizenship should be forced on those born in American Samoa.

"The future of our territory is being threatened by outside forces, and we must unite in our opposition to this lawsuit," he said. "I firmly believe the future of American Samoa should be decided by the people living in the territory, not by a court 7,000 miles away," he said.

For those who do want citizenship, he introduced a bill earlier this year to make it easier for those living in the territory to do so. The bill, which is pending, would allow applying for naturalization directly from American Samoa.

Currently, people born in American Samoa must leave the territory and live in a state for at least three months to apply for naturalization. Many say the hassle and expense of the process prevents them from pursuing citizenship.

Citizenship should be determined by the flag under which someone is born, said Charles Alailima, one of the attorneys representing the group. "The plaintiffs here should not have to ask to be United States citizens."

A U.S. passport issued to those born in American Samoa notes the bearer is a national and not a citizen.

"Among other things, many federal, state and municipal laws require that a person be a U.S. citizen in order to enjoy certain civil, political and economic liberties, such as the right to vote, serve on a jury, bear arms and hold certain forms of public sector employment," the lawsuit argues.

"Recognition by the United States that all persons born in American Samoa are U.S. citizens would significantly advance the Samoan Federation's efforts to increase the political voice of the Samoan community," by allowing them to vote for president, said the Carson, Calif., nonprofit group, which is also named as a plaintiff.


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