Hijacker could remain in Britain indefinitely

Posted: 16th July 2012

plane 33One of a group of hijackers who commandeered an Airbus before landing at Stansted Airport has had his hopes of being allowed to stay permanently in the United Kingdom (UK) boosted by a judge’s decision.

Mustafa Abdul Hussain was one of six Iraqis who were fleeing Saddam Hussain's regime when they took over a Sudan Airways Airbus in 1996. When the plane arrived at Stansted, the hijackers gave themselves up and claimed asylum.

Mr Hussain, who says he had ‘no choice’ but to take part in the hijack due to his fear that he would otherwise be returned to Iraq to face execution, has stayed in the UK ever since, along with others involved in the hijacking.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department refused to grant Mr Hussain indefinite leave to remain in the UK but that decision has now been overturned by Deputy High Court Judge James Dingemanns QC.

The Secretary of State had said that it would not be ‘conducive to the public good’ to allow Mr Hussain to remain in the UK indefinitely. She argued that he was not entitled to humanitarian protection because of his involvement in the hijacking.

However, the deputy judge pinpointed a ‘surprising’ inconsistency in the Secretary of State’s approach, observing that two other members of the Iraqi group - including the ringleader of the hijacking - had been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Overturning the Secretary of State’s decision, the deputy judge said that she had failed to take into account the duress Mr Hussain had been under after wrongly finding that there was no evidence that he had been at risk in Sudan.

The judge said that Mr Hussain, a Shiite Muslim, from Basrah, had been detained without trial and tortured in Iraq and sentenced to death in his absence before the hijacking. His wife had also been tortured and his brother executed.

The six Iraqis were tried, convicted and imprisoned in the UK for their involvement in the hijacking despite claiming that they acted under duress. However all save the ringleader later had their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal.

The deputy judge ordered the Secretary of State to reconsider Mr Hussain's application for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.