Jailed asylum seeker turned up for deportation three times

Businessman says State ‘unlawfully’ imprisoned him after co-operation with authorities

The Four Courts, Dublin. The Bangladeshi businessman, in his 30s, has lived here since 2013 and had built up a “successful” restaurant business that he operated using a temporary work permit.  Photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

The Four Courts, Dublin. The Bangladeshi businessman, in his 30s, has lived here since 2013 and had built up a “successful” restaurant business that he operated using a temporary work permit. Photograph: Chris Maddaloni/Collins

 

A failed asylum seeker was put in prison for more than a month, despite presenting himself for deportation three times on previous occasions, the High Court has heard.

In a court action the man accused the State of “unlawfully” imprisoning him after he had fully co-operated with authorities.

He is due to be flown back to his home country of Bangladesh on Monday having spent his last weekend in Ireland in prison.

The Bangladeshi businessman, in his 30s, has lived here since 2013 and had built up a “successful” restaurant business that he operated using a temporary work permit. Described in court papers as an asset to his community and “a fantastic boss” by his workers, he had hoped to to stay in Ireland permanently.

But his bid for asylum failed and he was initially ordered by the Department of Justice to leave the State voluntarily by March 24th last. However as he exercised his right of appeal, that deadline was extended by nearly seven weeks into early May.

He had attended the Garda National Immigration Bureau in March to surrender his passport.

He returned to the bureau on two further occasions in the three months that followed, but gardaí were not ready to deport him, the court heard.

‘No arrangements’

When he returned on May 9th, he was told that “no arrangements had been made” for his deportation and he was asked to present himself again in late June, the court heard.

When he turned up again on June 27th, he was told again “that no arrangements had been made, nor had any been discussed” for his removal. Notwithstanding that, he was then immediately arrested and brought to Cloverhill Prison, where he has been detained since.

His business has been forced to shut down since his sudden arrest, an emergency High Court hearing on Friday night was told.

He took the case under article 40 of the Constitution alleging unlawful imprisonment since June 27th.

The man also claimed he feared for his safety if returned to Bangladesh.

His barrister, Sunniva McDonagh SC, argued his unexpected arrest and detention was “entirely disproportionate and unnecessary”, and amounted to an “unlawful interference with his constitutional right to liberty”.

Full co-operation

She urged Mr Justice Bernard Barton to let her client out of jail immediately and trust him to present himself for deportation voluntarily on Monday in view of his full co-operation to date.

However the judge ruled gardaí had been within their rights to arrest and detain the man in June, even though he had never tried to evade deportation.

“I’m satisfied the arrest and detention of the applicant was lawful and the court will refuse the application,” the judge concluded.

The man was then returned to Cloverhill Prison on Friday night.

Mr Justice Barton also noted no final decision has ever been made by the State on an application by the man to “revoke” the deportation order against him.