Rwanda flight cancelled – Patel disappointed


The first flight scheduled to take asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda on Tuesday has been cancelled after a last-minute legal battle.

Up to seven people had been expected to be removed to the east African country.

But the flight was stopped after an intervention from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was “disappointed” but would not be deterred and the “preparation for the next flight begins now”.

The cancellation of the flight followed a UK court saying it could go ahead, and came after a series of legal challenges in Britain failed.

The plane had been due to take off at 22:30 BST from a military airport in Wiltshire but, after a number of linked judgements from the ECtHR in Strasbourg and courts in London, all passengers were removed from it.

In a statement hours before the flight’s planned departure, the ECtHR said it had granted an “urgent interim measure” in the case of an Iraqi man, known only as “KN”.

It said such requests were only granted on an “exceptional basis, when the applicants would otherwise face a real risk of irreversible harm”.

That decision contradicted a ruling by judges in London, who had found no immediate risk to those being sent to Rwanda.

The ECtHR oversees a range of human rights laws to which the UK is a signatory, along with other nations. It is separate from the European Union.


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