UKBA officials 'planned to worsen health of mentally ill asylum seeker'

originally by: The Guardian
published: 5 July 2012

Home Office officials planned to worsen the health of an Iraqi asylum seeker who had a mental illness in the hope of putting pressure on him to leave the UK, the high court has heard.

The case centres on evidence that appears to show that they tried to exert pressure on the man, who is seriously ill with paranoid schizophrenia, to sign a form agreeing to return voluntarily to his home country.

Officials from the UK Border Agency are unable to force failed asylum seekers to return to Iraq against their will because the country is considered to be too dangerous. In 2009 when this arose, they were keen to encourage voluntary returns, however.

The man, who can be referred to only as A as a court order protects his identity, was suffering from a series of fixed delusional beliefs and lacked the capacity to make informed decisions, according to medical records read out in court.

Because of this vulnerability he is being represented in the high court case by the official solicitor. A’s legal team argue that he was held unlawfully in immigration detention for periods between 2007-2010. UKBA’s legal team deny the detention was unlawful.

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