Prolific offender wins damages from Home Office for 'unlawful detention'

10 November 2017, 14:25

A "violent offender" has won damages from the Home Office for being unlawfully detained after he fought deportation to Somalia.

Abdulrahman Mohammed, 39, has spent much of the last two decades in and out of custody since coming to the UK in February 1996 when he was 17.

As well as jail time, he was detained pending deportation as a foreign criminal, but on Friday won his claim for damages for false imprisonment relating to three instances totalling 445 days.

They came after 2008, when he appealed a decision to deport him citing the deteriorating situation in Somalia, his home country.

The European Court of Human Rights agreed he should not be removed from the UK. Mohammed said the periods of detention left him feeling "trapped, humiliated and hopeless".

Mohammed also served two different four-year terms for armed robberies.

The judge called him a "violent and prolific offender" and said the Home Secretary had not been able to deport him, despite his presence in Britain not being "conducive to the public good".

After determining the fee, the judge admitted some would ask why a person who had "abused the hospitality" of a country should receive compensation.

Deputy High Court Judge Edward Pepperall told the court: "First, there are few principles more important in a civilised society than that no one should be deprived of their liberty without lawful authority.

"Secondly, it is essential that where a person is unlawfully imprisoned by the state that an independent judiciary should hold the executive to account.

"Thirdly, justice should be done to all people."

Mohammed was 13 years old when he was caught up in the outbreak of civil war in Somalia and was tortured by armed men, leading him to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

He mixed very quickly with "bad company" when he arrived in the UK, but Judge Pepperall said he was "not the most wicked of men".

The judge said the breaches of procedure by the Home Office included not releasing him when there was evidence of torture, and when the prospect of deportation within a reasonable period was remote.