Immigration law bulletin #363
Following the death at Heathrow Airport in October 2010 of Jimmy Mubenga during the course of his deportation this week saw the start of a landmark prosecution of the three G4S Detention Custody Officers. Counsel for the Crown Mark Dennis QC opening the case said:
[The guards] held Mubenga in such a position [bent forward] that his ability to breathe properly was inevitably impaired. Each officer would have known from their training – and from common sense – that keeping someone in such a position was likely to cause a person harm, yet they did so over a prolonged period and did so ignoring the repeated shouts from Mubenga that he was in trouble.
In relation to Third Country removals under Dublin II a positive Judgment from the European Court of Human Rights last week in Tarakhel v Switzerland 2917/12 Grand Chamber Judgment  ECHR 1185, the ECtHR ruled that there would be an Article 3 breach if the Swiss authorities returned an asylum seeking Afghan family to Italy without individual assurances from the Italian government that the applicants would be kept together as a family and treated in a manner adapted to the age of the children.
The Court emphasised its previous findings in MSS v Belgium and Greece recognising that asylum seekers were a particularly underprivileged and vulnerable group in need of special protection and that the requirements of “special protection” of asylum seekers was particularly important where the individuals concerned are children in view of their specific needs and extreme vulnerability.
In another hunger strike R (on the application of W v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 3485 (Admin) the Administrative Court held that it was not a breach of the Hardial Singh principles, policy nor in violation of the ECHR for the Secretary of State to continue to detain a long-term overstayer who went on hunger strike, despite medical evidence that he was not fit to be detained.