SNP MP who saved asylum seeker from wrongful deportation calls for an inquiry

Isabella Katjiparatijiyi was detained at Dungavel for over two weeks due to repeated errors by the Home Office

  • Asylum seeker Isabella Katjiparatijiyi was detained while reporting to a Home Office appointment
  • Home Office pled ignorance of asylum seeker Isabella Katjiparatijiyi’s right to challenge
  • SNP MP Chris Stephens calls for inquiry following wrongful detainment of his constituent

AN asylum seeker was wrongfully detained for over two weeks and only saved from deportation following the intervention of her local MP.

Glasgow South West constituent Isabella Katjiparatijiyi, who is currently seeking asylum from Namibia due to persecution, was advised earlier this month that her claim had been unsuccessful. Katjiparatijiyi’s solicitors McGlashan Mackay immediately began the process for a judicial review.

Despite the review pending, she was then detained at her next reporting on 8 January and transported to the notorious Dungavel Detention Centre. Following this, her legal team contacted the Home Office seeking her immediate release, by reason of unfairness in procedural law.

Despite the validity of this objection, her solicitors received no response, and a notice for removal was served on the same day as her detainment.

Chris Stephens, Katjiparatijiyi’s local Glasgow MP, was also advised by the Home Office that they were unaware of her right to challenge, despite this being a well-known and fundamental aspect of the legal asylum process.

A Certified Court interlocutor’s call for Katjiparatijiyi to be immediately released was lodged on 17 January, but this was also met with no response from the Home Office. However, they did inform Stephens that they had an issue with the order. The following day, removal instructions for Katjiparatijiyi were issued by the Home Office.

READ MORE: Analysis: How many controversies must occur before Dungavel is finally closed?

Progress only came after Stephens raised the matter at Home Office Questions last week, leading Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes to concede and agree with Stephens’ argument. Katjiparatijiyi was subsequently released on 22 January.

Stephens has announced he will ask for an inquiry into the case.

He commented: “This case clearly demonstrates that the Home Office has no plans to end their hostile environment.

“Isabella should have had three months to make new representations to the home office for a legal review, but before this could happen she was detained and issued with a removal order.

“I will be meeting with the minister and asking her to address the mismanagement by the Home Office in this case and ask why someone who is a very low risk of absconding who adhered to her reporting condition had been detained during her Judicial Review”

READ MORE: 'You feel caged’: Woman released from Dungavel speaks out on life inside an immigration detention centre

Stephens continued: “I am delighted that I was able to intervene and help get Ms Katjiparatijiyi removal halted. I will continue to support Ms Katjiparatijiyi over the coming months as she seeks to leave to remain in the United Kingdom.”

Speaking to CommonSpace, Katjiparatijiyi said she had received no apology or explanation for the errors that saw her detained and almost deported.

Describing her detainment, she said: “Just being in there, not knowing what is going to happen next, is more frustrating. Because any time the Home Office want to deport you, they can deport you any time they want.”

Picture courtesy of the office of Chris Stephens MP

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