We are pleased to announce that the Habeas Corpus Project secured the release of Mohammed Ali Reaz Khan from Harmondsworth IRC where he spent more than 9 months in detention. Since he was not able to afford private legal representation, the Habeas Corpus Project assisted him and took his case on for free, preparing the necessary paperwork and representing him at his bail hearing on 1st June 2016 in addition to assisting in the preparation of statements for his asylum claim. Although the judge himself admitted that he was not going to grant bail when he first read the papers, he eventually ordered Reaz’s release from detention after being convinced through the course of the hearing.
This was a difficult case. Reaz was detained last August and his continued detention was deemed appropriate on an allegation that he had ‘exceptionally poor immigration history’, an issue which Reaz disputed. Our volunteer Anna Ashford worked tirelessly to collect all necessary information, and prepared the paperwork for the bail hearing. At the hearing, the Home Office representative attempted to convince the judge that Reaz could not be trusted, accusing him of a failure to comply with his reporting conditions, working illegally in the UK, and breaching immigration rules, all of which was denied. Moreover, the Home Office was extremely critical that Reaz had only one surety, and attempted to persuade the judge that this surety to be too weak to exercise any influence over Reaz. However, our barrister, Ousman Noor argued that Reaz was never charged with the offence of working illegally, and that he made efforts to normalise his immigration status, that he had been accepted as a victim of torture and that his removal could not be considered imminent. Ousman also pointed out that Reaz was never put on reporting conditions, and that his surety, who had travelled from Scotland to London on the morning of the hearing in order to help his friend, was a strong and reliable surety. Eventually, Ousman’s argument and the commitment of the surety convinced the judge and Reaz was released from detention after a 30-minute-hearing.
After his release, Reaz expressed his deepest gratitude to Anna, Ousman and the team of the Habeas Corpus Project.
We publish his story and the photo with his permission and wish him best of luck!