Deportation of woman `not valid'

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AN ASYLUM-SEEKER walked free yesterday after the Court of Appeal ruled that the Home Secretary had unlawfully held the woman in custody for nearly seven months. Ganiyatu Sanusi, 20, a Nigerian, wept after she was released, but she still faces deportation.

Following yesterday's ruling Ms Sanusi's lawyer claimed that hundreds of other asylum-seekers would benefit from the court decision, although this was later denied by the Home Office.

The three Court of Appeal judges ruled that Jack Straw had made "an invalid deportation order" for Ms Sanusi. They said the Home Secretary could not attempt to deport someone while their application for asylum was still being considered.

Lord Justices Evans, Ward and Brooke ordered that their judgment should go directly to Mr Straw who should give "anxious and careful consideration" to the woman's situation and take notice of their comments when he reconsidered her application to stay in Britain.

Ms Sanusi, who has been in Britain since her 13th birthday and married a British citizen nearly two years ago, said: "I am so happy now. This means I can now go back to college to study accountancy."

A Home Office spokeswoman said that officials would be examining yesterday's ruling before deciding whether to try to deport Ms Sanusi. She said that they may make a petition directly to the House of Lords in an attempt have the judgment overturned.