Controversial Rwanda Asylum Flight Cancelled After Last-Minute Legal Action

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) stopped the first scheduled flight for a controversial United Kingdom government scheme from sending asylum seekers to Rwanda on June 14.

Up to seven people had been set to be flown to the east African country on June 14, but last-minute legal action from the ECHR stopped the flight from taking off at 10:30 British Summer Time from a military airport in Wiltshire.

The ECHR said in a ruling that it had granted an “urgent interim measure” in the case of an Iraqi national, known only as “KN,” BBC News reported.

“The European Court has indicated to the UK Government that the applicant should not be removed to Rwanda until three weeks after the delivery of the final domestic decision in his ongoing judicial review proceedings,” ECHR said, as quoted by CNN.

It is understood that the ruling on the Iraqi national led to the injunctions for the other cases.

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

The ECHR ruling came after courts in the UK allowed the flight to go ahead.

The UK government has insisted that the scheme aims to disrupt people-smuggling networks and to deter migrants from crossing the Channel to England from France.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said that she was “disappointed” that the flight had been canceled.

“I have always said this policy will not be easy to deliver and am disappointed that legal challenge and last-minute claims have meant today’s flight was unable to depart,” Patel added.

Patel further said that her office was reviewing the legality of the ECHR ruling and that the government plans to move forward with the scheme.

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