Samim Bigzad: High Court judge orders Home Office to bring deported Afghan asylum seeker back to UK

A High Court judge has ordered the Home Office to bring an asylum seeker who was deported to Afghanistan back to the UK, saying the Government may have acted in contempt of court.

It stands accused of violating a previous court order to fly Samim Bigzad to Kabul – the city he fled two years ago after being threatened with beheading by the Taliban.

The 22-year-old was forced on a plane from Gatwick Airport with less than four hours’ notice on Tuesday morning, to the dismay or relatives and campaigners who helped thwart a previous deportation last month.

A Turkish Airlines pilot refused to take off with Mr Bigzad on board after activists alerted passengers and crew members.

But they did not have time to make the same efforts ahead of the second deportation attempt and the asylum seeker was taken on flight to Turkey by immigration guards.

Mr Bigzad’s legal representatives secured an emergency injunction on Tuesday night as he was held awaiting a connecting flight in Istanbul.

The order required the Home Office to return the asylum seeker to the UK pending a judicial review, but he was instead put on the plane to Afghanistan. 

In a new order issued by the High Court on Wednesday, Justice Jay said the Government must “take all steps available to procure [Mr Bigzad’s] immediate return to the United Kingdom”.

The document, seen by The Independent, said he must be put on the next available commercial or chartered flight with space, but Mr Bigzad remains at a hotel in Kabul awaiting his fate.

Justice Jay gave the Home Office until 4pm on Friday to present a witness statement “explaining why the claimant was sent on flight TK706 to Kabul and why he has not been returned on the UK on the first available flight”.

The judge added that the Government “appeared to be in breach” of the initial order made by Justice Morris and could be found in contempt of court over its…

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