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Flight grounded as European judges thwart plan to send UK asylum seekers to Rwanda – POLITICO

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Boris Johnson’s controversial plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda suffered a bitter blow Tuesday evening after the primary deliberate flight was grounded on the runway following a late intervention by European judges.

The Kigali-bound flight had initially been scheduled to take off with 130 asylum seekers on board Tuesday evening, although numbers had dwindled quickly as the date approached due to a number of lawsuits aimed on the U.Okay. authorities.

In farcical scenes, the flight in the end failed to depart the runway in any respect, with people nonetheless being pulled from the airplane one after the other all through Tuesday night following an Eleventh-hour intervention by the European Court of Human Rights. Eventually, each asylum seeker on board was granted a reprieve, and the empty airplane returned to its hangar.

U.Okay. Home Secretary Priti Patel mentioned she was “disappointed” the flight had failed to depart and described the European physique’s resolution to intervene as “very surprising.”

“We will not be deterred,” Patel added. “Our legal team are reviewing every decision made and preparation for the next flight begins now.”

The flight was a part of controversial U.Okay. authorities plans geared toward deterring asylum seekers from making the damaging crossing over the English Channel in small boats.

Under the agreement signed with the Kigali government, the U.Okay. will send some undocumented migrants — judged by the prime minister to be “anyone who enters the U.K. illegally” — to Rwanda, the place they are going to be given momentary lodging and given the selection to both apply for asylum within the east African nation or return to their origin nation.

If accepted for asylum, they are going to be allowed to stay in Rwanda for 5 years, after which they’ll apply once more. There is not any path to return to the U.Okay. legally.

The plans have divided public opinion inside the U.Okay. and confronted intense opposition on moral, monetary and sensible grounds — most notably from the Church of England leadership and Prince Charles.

Human rights attorneys and protesters have been combating authorized battles for weeks to stop the primary scheduled flight from taking off. Their efforts had appeared to be in useless following a sequence of authorized defeats, nevertheless, with the U.Okay.’s Supreme Court ruling Tuesday that the flight might go forward.

But the last-minute intervention from the European judges proved key in reversing that call.

In a press release a number of hours earlier than the airplane’s departure time, the ECHR mentioned it had granted an “urgent interim measure” to one of many asylum seekers to take away him from the flight. The remaining six passengers had been subsequently taken off the airplane following related injunctions.

The dramatic intervention is probably going to present additional ammunition to Johnson’s highly-politicized assaults on European judges. Earlier Tuesday, he had already hinted he would take into account taking the U.Okay. out of the European Convention on Human Rights as a consequence of the present standoff.

Johnson instructed broadcasters that “it may very well be necessary to change some laws” when pressed on whether or not Britain would take into account withdrawing from the human rights physique.

“The legal world is very good at picking up ways of trying to stop the government from upholding what we think is a sensible law,” Johnson mentioned.

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