About 40 Sri Lankans, due to have been deported from Britain on a charter flight Thursday, have had their removal orders overturned. Most of them are said to be Tamils.
About 40 failed asylum seekers were granted dramatic last-minute stays, Channel 4 reported.
Immigration lawyers ascribe the high court judges’ apparent change of heart to serious concerns over Sri Lanka’s dismal human rights record and the risk that those forcibly returned face arrest and torture.
The judgements affected around half of the estimated 70-80 Tamils due to have been sent back to Sri Lanka on a government chartered flight from Stansted airport.
Two senior barristers with the London-based Renaissance Chambers, which specialises in human rights and immigration law, say the judgements are very unusual.
Nishan Paramjorthy and Shivani Jegarajah say they represent a judicial shot across the bows of the British government.
“Judicial attitudes have changed,” said Paramjorthy. “Previously hardline judges are granting stays, mostly on grounds of risk upon return.”
The Human Rights Watch had earlier urged Britain to suspend the planned deportations in light of 13 cases it had documented of failed Tamil asylum seekers being tortured by the security forces on return to Sri Lanka.