Iraq refugee ‘attacked on aircraft’ back in UK

A failed asylum seeker has been returned to the UK after complaining that he was seriously assaulted at Baghdad airport following his forcible removal from the UK.

Alandi Salimi accused three UK Border Agency escorts on his flight of joining Iraqi police officers in the assault after he refused to leave the aircraft.

The allegations came to light when Mr Salimi challenged a refusal to allow him to take his case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

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Rejecting his challenge, Mr Justice Bean, sitting at London’s High Court, ruled yesterday that his complaint was outside the commission’s jurisdiction. But Mr Salimi can take his case to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.

The judge said Mr Salimi alleged that he was the victim of a serious assault by Iraqi police, with the active assistance of the escorts, which left him bruised and disorientated.

He had unsuccessfully applied for asylum in the UK in September 2007 on the basis that he was a refugee from persecution in Iraq.

His claim was finally rejected in March 2010 when he exhausted his appeal rights.

The Home Secretary ordered his removal and he was placed on a charter flight to Baghdad on September 6, 2010, said the judge.

At Baghdad airport, Iraqi police officers boarded the plane after Mr Salimi and others refused to leave the aircraft.

The judge said: “The claimant’s case, which I will assume for present purposes to be correct, is that three British escorts used force on the claimant to get him to the floor of the aircraft.

“While he was thus restrained face down on the floor he was beaten on the head, shoulders and back by the Iraqi police who proceeded to remove him from the aircraft. He sustained serious and extensive bruising and was disorientated.”

The British embassy became concerned about his treatment, and just over two weeks later he was returned to the UK.

Last December his solicitors wrote to the IPCC complaining about, among other matters, the actions of the escorts.