UK flight carrying asylum seekers to Rwanda canceled

London: In a major embarrassment to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government, a first flight carrying asylum seekers to Rwanda as part of a controversial UK policy was canceled on June 14.

The number of those due to be put on the flight had dwindled from an original 130 to zero, thanks to a last-minute ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

British Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was disappointed that “legal challenge and last-minute claims” meant the plane did not take off but vowed to pursue the heavily criticized policy.

“We will not be deterred,” she said in a statement. “Our legal team is reviewing every decision made on this flight and preparation for the next flight begins now.”

The grounding was thanks to an ECHR ruling that at least one of the asylum seekers should stay in Britain as there were no guarantees for his legal future in Rwanda, which earlier agreed to take in a number of refugees bound for the United Kingdom in a controversial deal with London.

Patel called the ECHR intervention “very surprising” and vowed that “many of those removed from this flight will be placed on the next”.

The Strasbourg-based court said the expulsion should wait until British courts have taken a final decision on the legality of the policy, set for July.

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy: Twitter@pritipatel)

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