Hijacker wins challenge over living in the UK

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An Iraqi man arrested at Stansted Airport after taking part in the hijack of an airliner has won the latest round of a 16-year fight to stay in the UK.

Mustafa Abdul Hussain – one of the hijackers of a Sudan Airways Airbus which flew into Britain in August 1996 – successfully challenged the Home Office after Ministers refused to grant him “indefinite leave to remain”.

A judge said Home Secretary Theresa May should reconsider Mr Hussain’s case, following a High Court hearing in London.

Deputy High Court Judge James Dingemans QC said the Home Office decision to refuse Mr Hussain “indefinite leave to remain” had been “flawed”.

Judge Dingemans said Mr Hussain was part of a group which hijacked the airliner – which had 197 people on board – after it left Sudan on August 27 1996.

Mr Hussain, and others, surrendered at Stansted, claimed asylum, and were arrested.

The judge said Mr Hussain was a Shiite Muslim from Basra and his family had suffered at the hands of the Iraqi regime headed by former leader Saddam Hussein.

He said Mr Hussain had been detained without trial, tortured and sentenced to death.

The judge said Mr Hussain had escaped from Iraq in 1995 and travelled to Sudan.

Mr Hussain claimed he had been acting under “duress” when he carried out the hijacking. He said he faced execution in Iraq and feared being seized by Sudanese authorities and returned.

In 1997, Mr Hussain and others were tried and convicted for their respective roles in the hijacking.

Mr Hussain was given a five-year prison sentence, Judge Dingemans said. A year later, appeal judges had quashed convictions.

Mr Hussain had been released and had resumed his fight to stay in the UK and yesterday Judge Dingemans outlined applications and official decisions stretching over more than a decade.

Judge Dingemans said Mr Hussain was challenging a Home Office decision to refuse indefinite leave taken in October 2011.

Mr Hussain complained that others involved in the hijacking had been granted indefinite leave to remain and argued that he was treated inconsistently.

The judge concluded that the Home Office decision was flawed because Ministers had ignored “relevant matters”.

Judge Dingemans said the case would be remitted to the Home Office for reconsideration.

Home Office Ministers had resisted Mr Hussain’s claim and denied “any unlawfulness” in their decision-making process.