"Too often today, people are ready to tell us, 'this is not possible; that is not possible'. I say, whatever the true interest of our country calls for, is always possible!"
- Enoch Powell.
Thursday, 16 December 2010
Asylum seeker who left girl, 12, to die after hit-and-run can stay in UK... thanks to the Human Rights Act David Cameron promised her father he'd scrap
Father says 'criminals have free rein' after losing battle to deport killer
Failed asylum seekerAso Mohammed Ibrahim had a string of convictions
Outcome 'may have been different' if Iraqi didn't have children, judges say
David Cameron was accused last night of breaking a personal pledge to scrap the Human Rights Act after a failed asylum seeker who killed a 12-year-old girl used the discredited law to stay in Britain. Aso Mohammed Ibrahim knocked down Amy Houston and left her to ‘die like a dog’ under the wheels of his car. He was driving while disqualified and after the little girl’s death he committed a string of further offences. Earlier this year Mr Cameron wrote to Amy’s father promising reforms that would ensure ‘that rights are better balanced against responsibilities’. He said the Human Rights Act would be replaced by a British Bill of Rights. But yesterday Ibrahim, an Iraqi Kurd, won his lengthy fight to stay in Britain.
'Ridiculous': Aso Mohammed Ibrahim will be allowed to remain in the UK despite leaving Amy Houston, 12, dying under the wheels of his car in November 2003, because deporting him would 'breach his human rights'
Immigration judges ruled that sending him home would breach his right to a ‘private and family life’ as he has now fathered two children in the UK. Last night Amy’s father Paul branded the Act an ‘abomination to civilised society’. He said: ‘This decision shows the Human Rights Act to be nothing more than a charter for thieves, killers, terrorists and illegal immigrants.’ The ruling heaped pressure on Mr Cameron to reinstate a Tory pre-election pledge to abolish the HRA and replace it with a British Bill of Rights. He stated that pledge unequivocally in a letter to Mr Houston, written in January when he was still Leader of the Opposition, and shortly after the death of his son Ivan. It began: ‘As someone who sadly has been recently bereaved, I do have a little idea of what you must have been through.’ Last night Mr Houston, a 41-year-old engineer, made a direct plea to Mr Cameron to think again. He said: ‘He needs to take a long, hard look at himself and make the right decision for this country because as it stands the Human Rights Act is on the side of criminals, terrorists and thieves against law-abiding citizens. ‘He wrote to me to say he would bring in the British Bill of Rights but that appears to have been put in the back burner because of the Coalition. ‘I don’t want to see this matter sidelined. I think it needs to be placed very firmly on the agenda again. If he has got the courage of his convictions that is what he will do.
Angry: Paul Houston, father of Amy, said today: 'This is a perversity of our society'
‘The law does need to be changed so that it properly represents everyone – not just this awful minority who ruin people’s lives.’ Mr Houston, of Darwen, Lancashire, said he was ‘absolutely devastated’ by the decision to allow Ibrahim to stay in the country indefinitely. ‘How can he say he’s deprived of his right to a family life? The only person deprived of a family life is me. Amy was my family.’ Amy was Mr Houston’s only child and for medical reasons he is unable to have any more children. The case fuelled deep concern on the Tory backbenches. One MP branded the Act the ‘Criminals’ Rights Act’ and repeated calls for it to be scrapped. No minister was prepared to comment directly about the case, but Downing Street issued a statement ‘sharing Mr Houston’s anger’. The UK Border Agency said it was ‘extremely disappointed’ with the decision. Ibrahim, now 33, arrived in Britain hidden in the back of a lorry in January 2001. His application for asylum was refused and a subsequent appeal in November 2002 failed, but he was never sent home. In 2003, while serving a nine-month driving ban for not having insurance or a licence, he ploughed into Amy near her mother’s home in Blackburn. He ran away, leaving her conscious and trapped beneath the wheels of his black Rover. Six hours later her father had to take the heartbreaking decision to turn off her life-support system. But despite leaving Amy to die, Ibrahim was jailed for just four months after admitting driving while disqualified and failing to stop after an accident.
Since his release from prison he has accrued a string of further convictions, including more driving offences, harassment and cautions for burglary and theft.
'The image of Amy taking her final breath, dying a foot away from me as I sat by her bedside holding her hand praying for a miracle, will stay with me till the day I die.'
He also met a British woman, Christina Richardson, and fathered two children with her, Harry, four, and Zara, three. Border Agency officials finally began attempts to remove him from the country in October 2008. Ibrahim’s lawyers argued sending him back to Iraq would breach Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, which guarantees his right to a private and family life with his children. When the case first came before an immigration judge in June last year, Home Office lawyers said Ibrahim should be removed because of his persistent criminality. Ibrahim told the court he had became a father figure to Miss Richardson’s two children from a previous relationship and was even helping them with their homework. This account was dismissed as ‘clearly not credible’ after Ibrahim admitted he could barely speak English.
The judge accepted that Ibrahim’s behaviour was ‘abhorrent’ and branded his evidence ‘contradictory and unsatisfactory’. However he ruled that he had developed a ‘significant and substantial’ relationship with the children and was acting as their father.
Only child: Amy's death deprived Mr Houston of family life as he is unable to have further children
The UK Border Agency launched an appeal against the decision. Lawyers for the agency argued that there was little evidence that he was living at the same address as his own children. But yesterday the Upper Immigration Tribunal threw out the appeal, saying the judge had considered the case in a ‘legally correct’ way. In a letter to the tribunal, Mr Houston made an impassioned plea for Ibrahim to be sent back to Iraq, saying his right to a family life with Amy should outweigh the rights of Ibrahim. He wrote: ‘On the evening of November 23 2003, Mr Ibrahim struck Amy. He didn’t kill her outright, she was still conscious.
‘She was fully aware of what was happening around her even though she had the full weight of the engine block of the car on top of her, she was crying because she was frightened and in a lot of pain... he could have at least tried to help.
‘Amy suffered for six hours before the doctors advised me to switch off the life support machine . . . it was highly unlikely she would survive and if she was to live would be a “cabbage”.
‘The image of Amy taking her final breath, dying a foot away from me as I sat by her bedside holding her hand praying for a miracle, will stay with me till the day I die.’ Last night Mr Houston said: ‘No wonder asylum seekers are queuing up at the borders to get in when they see decisions like this. ‘They realise that whatever they do, be it burglar, rape or murder, they can use the laws to ensure they are able to stay in Britain. ‘The immigration judges have ruled he had a right to a family life.
What about my right to a family life with my daughter?
‘That was taken away in the most horrendously cruel fashion by a serial criminal who has never contributed to our society.’ He pledged to continue his seven-year fight for justice and is seeking legal advice over the possibility of a judicial review.
Ministers are considering whether to take the case to the Court of Appeal.
Backbench Tory MPs said the case showed how the Human Rights Act was preventing ministers from controlling Britain’s borders.
MP Douglas Carswell said: ‘If we take the tribunal’s findings to their logical conclusion we would leave an open door to the world.’ This is the latest in a string of cases to provoke outrage over the Act.
Last month Learco Chindamo, who stabbed headmaster Philip Lawrence to death, was returned to jail over an alleged robbery.
In opposition, the Prime Minister cited the failure to deport Chindamo as a prime reason why the law should be scrapped. The Tories campaigned on a promise to bring in a British Bill of Rights to replace Labour’s Human Rights Act, but within weeks of the General Election result, the pledge was downgraded and replaced by a commitment to a review, effectively kicking the policy into the long grass.
A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘We fully understand Mr Houston’s distress and frustration at what has happened, and we share his anger. “The Government is committed to establishing a Commission during 2011 to investigate the creation of a UK Bill of Rights that protects and extends British liberties.’
DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Mr Cameron and a betrayal of British justice
Yesterday was a sickening day for justice in this country. To any sane mind, failed asylum seeker Aso Mohammed Ibrahim, who ran down 12-year-old Amy Houston and, in the words of the girl’s father, left her to ‘die like a dog’ under his car, should be deported. Instead, judges ruled this serial Iraqi criminal, who sneaked into Britain in the back of a lorry nine years ago, should be allowed to remain here permanently.
Who is the victim? : Ibrahim ran away as Amy was left trapped beneath his car yet sickeningly immigration officials have decided he can stay because of his right to a 'family life'
Disgracefully, the immigration tribunal decided that — under Labour’s insidious Human Rights Act — Ibrahim has a right to a ‘family life’ in order to care for his British wife and two children, fathered after he killed Amy. To hell with the family — and young life — he so casually destroyed. In response to this terrible injustice, Amy’s father, Paul, tells the Mail:
‘This decision shows the Human Rights Act to be nothing more than a charter for thieves, killers, terrorists and illegal immigrants. The rights of the criminal have been favoured over the rights of the victim and that is an abomination to civilised society.’
And what a criminal Ibrahim has been. Consider: after taking Amy’s life in 2003, he received a derisory four-month jail term for driving while disqualified, and fleeing the scene. Upon release, the shambolic Home Office then took no action to deport him — allowing him to have the children which, under the Human Rights Act, would later form the basis of his claim to a ‘family life’ in the UK. Meanwhile, showing not a shred of remorse for his actions, Ibrahim was returning to a life of crime. Burglary ... theft ... harassment ... damage to property ... possession of drugs. Shockingly, in 2006, he even repeated the same offence for which he was convicted in the wake of Amy’s death: driving while disqualified and uninsured. Each of these individual acts of criminality should have landed him back in prison. But — this being modern, liberal Britain — he escaped with community punishments and fines. Justice Secretary Ken Clarke should read this and hang his head in shame. One of the judges, confronted with Ibrahim’s criminality, conceded that his behaviour was ‘abhorrent’ — then ruled he could stay anyway. One man, however, who did take a stand against this mockery of justice is the current PM, David Cameron. While leader of the Opposition, Mr Cameron — in January of this year — wrote to Amy’s father committing his party to scrapping the Human Rights Act. The intention, said Mr Cameron, was to stop the likes of Ibrahim from using their right to a family life to ‘play the legal system for years and years’. Mr Cameron’s pledge was hugely popular with his party and voters exasperated by the way the Act was being abused.
No remorse: One judge described Ibrahim as 'abhorent' yet allowed him to stay to continue his life of burglary, theft, harrassment and drugs possession
Witness how Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada, two of the world’s worst terrorists, used the Act to thwart the authorities’ every attempt to throw them out of Britain. Or how a group of nine Afghans who hijacked a Boeing in 2000 and flew it to Stansted were allowed to stay here. According to government figures, 350 foreign criminals are escaping deportation under human rights law every year. Beneficiaries include illegal immigrant Ahsan Sabri, who killed writer Sophie Warne after speeding through a red light, Somalian Mohammed Kendeh, convicted of raping two British women, and — most notoriously — Learco Chindamo, who killed headteacher Phillip Lawrence, and who escaped deportation back to Italy on the grounds he had moved to the UK as a child. Again, the rights of Mr Lawrence’s family to receive justice were subservient to the right of Chindamo to his ‘family life’. In response to the case of Chindamo, who is now back behind bars for allegedly breaching the terms of his licence, Mr Cameron again took a firm position, saying: ‘It is a glaring example of what is going wrong in our country.’ And, on the case for abolishing the Human Rights Act, he was unequivocal. Speaking while still leader of the Opposition, he said: ‘The problem for this [Labour] Government is that the Human Rights Act is their legislation and they appear to be blind to its failings. ‘We ought to abolish the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights that we can write ourselves that sets out clearly our rights and responsibilities.’ Since these words were spoken, no doubt in all sincerity, nothing has changed, apart from the fact that Mr Cameron appears to have now lost the political will to do something about this scandal. Within a fortnight of the General Election, he announced that the Act would merely be subject to a long-term policy review, kicking it into the long grass for the duration of the current Parliament. The Prime Minister will doubtless point out that he was forced to change his position to form a working government with the Liberals. The Mail accepts some compromises were a necessary price for forming a stable Coalition, capable of tackling the terrifying budget deficit left behind by Labour. But, in the case of the Human Rights Act, Mr Cameron could — and should — have stood his ground. However noble the original intentions of this legislation may have been, it has had a corrosive effect on British life. If British people see foreign criminals almost literally getting away with murder, why should they respect the law themselves?