- 60 recently detained, 32 deported two days ago
- just heard that 22 have been detained today, flight next week
- Home Office plans '100 a week'
- the deportations are going on either RAF flights or chartered flights from Heathrow (Royal Jordanian Airlines, via Jordan) and Stanstead Hamburg Airlines. direct)
On 5 September, the Home Office deported up to 32 Iraqi asylum seekers on a specially chartered plane to Arbil in northern Iraq. In a newly leaked letter (1) it was revealed the Home Secretary urged duty judges to take into account the "complexities, practicalities and costs involved in arranging such charters" when considering any applications made for injunctions to prevent the return of the Iraqis to Iraq.
This is the second group of Iraqis to be forcibly returned to Iraq and is thought to include Iraqi Kurds recently detained in Yorkshire and Humberside. The first group were returned in November 2005. On this occasion, a court subsequently ruled that the deportation of one of the men had been illegal, forcing the Home Office to search Iraq to try and find the man and prompting High Court Judge Justice Collins to strongly criticise the Government's policy and noting that "the court has got a little fed up with how the Home Office is putting these removals into practice". (2)
Forced returns are also hugely expensive, costing in the region of £11,000 each according to the National Audit Office. That means this operation may have cost in the region of £300,000.
(1) "Reid warns judges not to block Iraqis' deportation "
(2) "Clarke to bring back wrongly deported Kurd"
"Judge attacks deportation tactics"