Law lords back Iraqi Kurd over asylum

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A suicidal Iraqi Kurd asylum-seeker won a court victory yesterday over David Blunkett in his five-year battle to have his claim for refuge heard in the UK.

A suicidal Iraqi Kurd asylum-seeker won a court victory yesterday over David Blunkett in his five-year battle to have his claim for refuge heard in the UK.

The Home Secretary wants Mohamed Ali Razgar, 26, to be sent back to Germany, the first country in which he sought asylum, because his human rights claim was "manifestly unfounded". But the Law Lords ruled by a 3-2 majority that he was entitled to stay in the UK until his appeal had been heard.

His lawyers argued his health would suffer and he could try to take his life if he were sent back to Germany. He had tried to kill himself in the past as a result of two years of detention and torture in Iraq.

Lord Bingham said the asylum-seeker would be able to receive medical help in this country that he might not in Germany. "A decision which, if implemented, might lead to Mr Razgar taking his own life could scarcely ... be dismissed as of insufficient gravity," he said.

Mr Razgar was refused asylum by the German authorities, but then claimed asylum in the UK in February 1999.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The facts of this one case are exceptional and the number of cases which may be affected by this judgment should be extremely small."

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