'Close to death' hunger striker loses appeal for ruling that he is being held unlawfully in immigration detention centre


A 'close to death' hunger striker has lost a Court of Appeal bid for a ruling that he is being unlawfully held in an immigration detention centre pending attempts to remove him from the UK.

Lawyers for Isa Muazu, 45, a failed asylum seeker from Nigeria, say he is now “near death” - but the Home Office argues he is “fit to fly”.

Three judges in London heard that his removal is due on Wednesday.

Muazu is detained at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre near Heathrow.

He says he came to the UK “for a better life”, and would “rather die” than face removal. He began his hunger strike in September, protesting that his asylum claim “was not treated fairly”.

Today's challenge was against a ruling by High Court judge Mr Justice Ouseley last week that Home Secretary Theresa May is not holding Mr Muazu unlawfully.

The judge declared that the decision to continue to refuse food and fluids was, in the end, for him to make - “his detention does not become unlawful simply because he is determined on that outcome”.

But Mr Justice Ouseley said his condition should be kept under review after it was argued that his death would defeat the purpose of his detention, which was to hold him pending deportation as an overstayer in the UK.

Mr Muazu's appeal against the judge's ruling was dismissed by Lord Justice Lewison, Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Sir Stanley Burnton.

They announced that they had “not been persuaded” that Mr Justice Ouseley was wrong in his decision and ruled that new arguments made on Mr Muazu's behalf during today's hearing had “undermined the correctness of his decision”.

The Court of Appeal judges will give full reasons for their ruling in a written judgment to be given on a date to be fixed.

Mr Muazu has been described as being in a “sorry state”, but the appeal judges heard that he had been certified as “fit for detention”.

It was argued on his behalf by Elisabeth Laing QC that his continued detention was “unlawful and irrational”.

She submitted that the “reasonable step” would be to release Mr Muazu, adding that what was not reasonable, “but rather wholly unreasonable and disproportionate”, was to “continue to detain a detainee until his will is broken, or if not broken, he simply dies”.

Mr Muazu, from Maiduguri in the northeast of Nigeria, entered the UK in July 2007 on a visitor's visa but did not leave when it expired.

He became an overstayer in January 2008 and found work in south-east London.

He said he had sought asylum after members of Boko Haram, a hardline Islamist group, threatened to kill him unless he joined them. He claims two members of his family have been killed by the group.

His application to remain was refused, and he was detained by the immigration authorities for removal on July 25 this year - the day he claimed asylum.

The claim was rejected as “manifestly unfounded” in August . He remained in detention, and he began his prolonged hunger strike in late September.

At a previous hearing, Eleanor Grey QC, appearing for Home Secretary, said granting him any court order could lead to “copycat cases” involving other immigration detainees.

The case is of general importance because of its potential impact on other asylum detainees. It is understood three other similar cases are already in the pipeline for judicial review.

Immigration law experts see the Government's stance as a new hardline approach following the release in June of four asylum detainees who were on hunger strike in protest at their detention.

Additional reporting PA

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam