A woman who fled sexual abuse in Jamaica was deported back to the country because the Home Office’s fax machine was broken, lawyers have claimed.
The woman, known only as JP, was forcibly removed from the UK at 12:40pm on Friday, despite repeated attempts to fax information about her case to the Home Office that morning, which could have delayed her flight.
Fifteen attempts to fax urgent representations all “failed to receive”, according to the non-profit law firm Habeas Corpus Project.
The law firm claim they were given no alternative fax number or email address to send the documents to, despite many requests. The Home Office allegedly told them the fax machine was working and they “should keep trying”.
Three minutes after JP’s plane left the runway the project were told the fax machine was not working, according to reports on the firm’s website.
Only after the flight had left did the National Removal Committee gave an email address to send representations to, the law firm claim.
JP fled Jamaica flowing a lifetime of extreme abuse, according to the project. She had been in the UK for seven years and had no criminal offences.
Last week, an independent medical practitioner at Yarl’s Wood found her history of repeated sexual abuse to be genuine and said it amounted to torture.
The representations made by the law firm on Friday morning requested the delay of JP’s flight until the new medical evidence could be considered.
In response to the allegations the Home Office said that while there were problems with a fax machine on Friday, an alternative email address was given and the representations were received and considered.
The individual’s claim for asylum was certified as unfounded on 18 May, the Home Office said.
A fresh asylum application was submitted on the day of removal after several failed representations, but contained no fresh evidence and made no difference to the removal, they added.
A Home Office spokesman told The Independent: “All applications are considered on their individual merits, including any compelling and compassionate circumstances, and in line with the immigration rules.
“Last minute representations that offer no fresh evidence and are simply designed to frustrate the removal process are liable to be refused.”
Habeas Corpus Project said: “We are deeply saddened and frustrated by what has occurred. The intransigence of the Home Office means they have failed to uphold fairness and justice, and are now returning a survivor of hideous abuse to the country from which she escaped.”
The firm say they are looking to make an official complaint.
Source: The Independent