Our client AB* who was detained at Yarl’s Wood IRC since March, has been released from detention.
AB is a Zimbabwean national subject to a deportation order. A recent High Court case of The Queen (Babbage) v SSHD  EWHC 148, notes, “The Zimbabwean authorities will not accept the return of their nationals unless either they hold a current passport or they sign a voluntary disclaimer indicating that they are willing to return to Zimbabwe”. Their position has been made clear “over a prolonged period” and that there “is nothing to suggest that stance is likely to change in the foreseeable future”. It was concluded that there was “no prospect of the Claimant being deported to Zimbabwe” and as such, further detention was unjustifiable. AB’s passport expired earlier this year and there was no prospect of deportation, the underlying purpose of immigration detention.
The Habeas Corpus Project wrote to the Home Office requesting information on what steps they were taking to deport AB given the highly unlikely chances of deportation.
The first letter was sent on 14/09/16. We phoned to chase an answer a week later and were informed the original letter had never been received, despite a successful fax receipt. With no response to this letter, we followed up with a new letter on the 28/09/16.
Again no response! The HCP managed to speak to AB’s caseworker on 05/10/16, and were told that our second letter had arrived, however they would not respond due to AB having more than one representative. We asked why this was a barrier to responding to our questions, but were instead met with interrogation over our authority to act. The caseworker had not heard of the Bar Standards Board and would need to confirm this was an acceptable authorising body before she would respond (she confirmed the written response would simply restate her reasons she couldn’t answer our questions).
With this obstructive behaviour frustrating case progression and unnecessarily extending the length of AB’s detention, the HCP sent a strongly-worded warning letter on the 11/10/16. This finally shook the Home Office awake; they realised that AB’s ongoing detention was inappropriate and she was released. We are delighted AB is able to return to the community!
*AB is not our client’s real initials, they have been used here to protect her privacy.