Sat | Jan 23, 2021

UK court provides last-minute reprieve for J'can deportees

Published:Wednesday | December 2, 2020 | 11:08 AM
The 37 Jamaicans were removed from the flight based on court orders in their individual cases.

Thirty-seven Jamaicans narrowly avoided deportation from the United Kingdom (UK) on-board a special charter flight following a flurry of last-minute legal challenges late into the night yesterday, one British charity has revealed.

One elderly man was removed from the flight 10 minutes before its scheduled departure, according to the charity group Detention Action.

Detention Action provided legal representation and support for seven of the men who were removed from the flight and three of the 13 who were deported, according to its director, Bella Sankey.

The flight was expected to touch down at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston this morning.

The 37 Jamaicans were removed from the flight based on court orders in their individual cases, Sankey disclosed.

“Each would have had legal representation made on their behalf and the court in their case agreed that they should come off the flight,” she said during an interview with The Gleaner.

Attorneys had been pursuing the cases all week and throughout yesterday, Sankey disclosed.

“Right up until the doors closed one man was taken off the plane … because the court injunction came through at 10 minutes to 1 a.m.,” she said, making reference to the departure time for the charter flight.

The “elderly man” has five children and his wife is in ill-health, Sankey disclosed.

Among the reasons for the aborted deportations, she said, was that some of the Jamaicans were “exploited and victimised”.

“Sometimes people will have a criminal conviction, but it’s because they have been basically coerced into criminal activity or threatened. We have a number of clients on the flight who were in that category,” Sankey explained.

She said others were removed because of the risks they face on return to Jamaica “because of previous incidents before they left”, or were in poor health and deemed unfit to fly.

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