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Hunger striker Isa Muazu loses release bid


A hunger striker who is "near death" has failed to win temporary freedom pending his appeal court challenge to being held in an immigration detention centre.

Three judges today unanimously ordered an urgent hearing of the case of Isa Muazu, 45, a failed asylum seeker from Nigeria, and it will now take place on Monday.

But they refused to direct his release from Harmondsworth immigration removal centre near Heathrow until the hearing, despite his lawyers saying he was close to death and would consent to medical treatment in hospital if released on bail.

Lawyers for Home Secretary Theresa May said the latest detention review had declared him fit to travel - and arrangements were being made for his return to Nigeria next week.

Eleanor Grey QC, for the minister, said granting him any interim order could lead to "copycat cases" involving other immigration detainees.

Lord Justice Maurice Kay, vice-president of the Court of Appeal, sitting with Lord Justice Moore-Bick and Lord Justice Ryder, described Mr Muazu as being "in a sorry state" and an end of life care plan had been prepared for him at the detention centre.

But the judge said he had chosen not to eat, saying "that is his prerogative and we do not think he is entitled to interim relief".

Mr Muazu has said in a statement: "I am refusing to eat because my asylum claim was not treated fairly and I will not give up my protest."