A Kurdish family of asylum seekers has won a six-figure out of court payout from the Home Office after being held in detention for more than a year when they were children, The Telegraph reports.
The Ay family, Kurdish refugees from Turkey, was held for 13 months in 2002 as the Government looked to return them to Germany where they had first made a claim for asylum.
Among those detained at the time, at Dungavel immigration removal centre in Scotland, were four children aged seven to 13.
The case later gained celebrity attention with Colin Firth, the actor, and Harry Potter author JK Rowling speaking out against the detention of children.
It was also the source for a BBC Radio 4 play in 2006 called Broken English.
Since taking power, the Coalition Government has pledged to end the detention of child asylum seekers.
Lawyers for the Ay family, who are now in Germany, took civil action against the Home Office for unlawful detention.
The case was settled out of court with a six-figure compensation for the children, three of who are now adults.
Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said: “We will continue to campaign for child detention to end once and for all until no other children are locked up by what is supposed to be a civilised state.”
A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “In March 2011 we established a new family returns process that ended the detention of children.
“This ensures that families with no right to be in the UK are given every opportunity to leave without the need for further action and are offered assistance at every stage.
“As a last resort where all voluntary options have failed, families may be held in our pre-departure accommodation at Cedars, which is run in partnership with Barnardo’s.” Source: The Telegraph
In another high profile case last year, former X Factor contestant Gamu Nhengu and her family won their immigration appeal and right to remain in the UK after a public campaign with the backing of Simon Cowell despite breaking immigration rules.
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