Friday, December 17, 2010

his rights not hers

He killed Amy in 2003. She was 12 years old.

Driving although disqualified, he knocked her down and then ran off leaving Amy, who was trapped under the wheels of the car, to die. If he had taken her to hospital straight away she might have lived. Incredibly, he was charged only with driving whilst disqualified and failing to stop, rather than the more appropriate charge of manslaughter. He received a 4 month prison sentence, serving less than 2 months, and was released. Oh, and he was in this country illegally. He still is.

All attempts by the UK Border Agency to deport Ibrahim to Iraq were unsuccessful; it has, as so often it is, been a long and difficult process. After prison, he met a British woman, well of course he did. Then they had a child, well of course they did. And then another. They gave them royal names, Harry and Zara; a nice touch. So he now has a family, which is always a good move in a campaign to avoid deportation.

Two senior immigration judges have this week rejected UKBA’s appeal and decided that he cannot be deported to Iraq because, as he has a family, it would be in breach of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act. Many will have greeted this result with a shaking of head, closing of eyes and deep exhalation; maybe saying ‘we just don't get it do we!'

The judges should read again Article 8 as they have got it badly wrong. It does say that everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life. But it also says there are situations in which the right should not be applied, for example when necessary for the prevention of crime, for public safety, or for the rights and freedoms of others.

Apart from the convictions resulting from the incident in which Amy was killed, Ibrahim also has committed the offences of driving whilst disqualified (3 years later), burglary, theft, criminal damage, driving without insurance, harrassment and possession of class B drugs. (He received only a caution for the burglary!) How then can it be argued that his deportation is not necessary for the prevention of crime ? It clearly is. Just as it is necessary to protect the rights and freedoms of others, namely his future victims. So, under Article 8, he has no rights to stay in the UK or demand respect for his family life here.

Where was his respect for Amy’s family life, when he left her dying in the road, or for her father who wants, and is entitled to, some justice ? This is not in any way opposing immigration or the granting of asylum when the cause is just, but when considering whether to allow dangerous criminals to stay we should have at least a passing regard for the human rights of those already here.

The Prime Minister has said he is angry about the appeal decision and that the legal interpretations of the European Convention on Human Rights sometimes “fly in the face of common sense.” He is quite right. He also says there is no reason not to deport to Iraq as it is a much safer place now that Britain has lost many lives and spent billions of pounds in making it so.

It would certainly be safer for Ibrahim in Iraq than his presence in Blackburn was for Amy.



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