Iraqi immigrants jailed
THREE Iraqi asylum seekers were last night beginning a nine-month prison sentence after attempting to remain in the UK under false names.Rizgar Mohammed, 24, Delshad Kadar, 18 and Serwan Hussein, 23, all Iraqi Kurds, crossed the channel from Coquelles, in France hoping to be granted asylum in this country.
THREE Iraqi asylum seekers were last night beginning a nine-month prison sentence after attempting to remain in the UK under false names.
Rizgar Mohammed, 24, Delshad Kadar, 18 and Serwan Hussein, 23, all Iraqi Kurds, crossed the channel from Coquelles, in France hoping to be granted asylum in this country.
Mohammed arrived on April 30, 2001, Hussein followed in May and Kadar arrived in August.
All three were taken to the immigration reception centre at Oakington in Cambridgeshire where their photographs and fingerprints were taken.
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Mohammed and Hussein had their appeals dismissed but Kadar was given leave to remain here until his 18th birthday in September last year. His subsequent appeal was also unsuccessful.
The three then tried to seek asylum again at Felixstowe immigration office on December 28 last year, using false names, claiming they had only just arrived in the UK in the back of a lorry.
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They were found out when a new set of their fingerprints matched those already taken.
All three admitted their deception. They had been staying for some time at a hostel in Norwich Road, Ipswich.
Michael Crimp, prosecuting at Ipswich Crown Court, said this was not an isolated case and that others were attempting the same ploy.
Jude Durr, for Mohammed, said his client had been left in "limbo" as Iraqi nationals may not be deported, owing to the current political situation in their homeland.
He added that Mohammed, a shepherd from Northern Iraq, was not entitled to work or claim state benefits in this country and had been relying on help from the National Asylum Support Service and from a network of fellow countrymen living in the UK.
A system had developed, Mr Durr said, where Iraqis who cannot be repatriated or returned to another country are taken in by Iraqi families where they run errands and clean the house in return for their keep.
He added: "My client has practically nothing in the way of possessions other than the clothes he has on him today.
"Until this Government are is a position to repatriate Iraqi nationals he is in a sense, a hostage of the geo-political circumstances. I would ask your honour to be as merciful as possible."
Samantha Leigh, for Kadar and Hussein, said: "We all know the difficulties in relation to the Kurdish population in Iraq with regards to torture and conscription of Kurds to fight the Iraqi Government.
"Both of my clients are fleeing persecution, both have had members of their families and friends tortured. Mr Kadar knows where his family are but there is still the fear they must all live under. Mr Hussein doesn't know what the authorities have done to his family. I am perfectly aware, as are they, of the situation between this country and Iraq and the likely outcome. All they both want is to be able to work in the UK and support themselves legally and be safe. They are horrified to be in custody."
Mohammed also had no knowledge of the whereabouts of his family in Iraq.
None of the men have ever been in trouble before, either in the UK or in Iraq.
Judge John Devaux, sentencing all three to nine months in prison, said: "Although you say you are Kurds fleeing persecution… the authorities do not accept you are genuine asylum seekers. This court is not an appeal court for immigration appeal tribunals. It isn't for us to say that a tribunal got it wrong.
"The Court of Appeal has said a deterrent element is appropriate in cases of this kind."
Kadar will serve his sentence in a young offenders' institution.