The Home Office is to be challenged in court over its practice of inviting foreign government representatives to interview political asylum seekers after The Independent exposed the “corrupt” exercise.
It emerged last December that people who had fled political persecution in Zimbabwe and claimed asylum in the UK were ordered by the Home Office to attend meetings where they were asked “distressing” questions by Zimbabwean officials.
The move was believed to have been part of an agreement between the two governments that Britain would “repatriate” at least 2,500 failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe providing that officials from the country could “vet” them beforehand. The Home Office did not deny these allegations.
The High Court has now granted permission for the practice to be challenged in court, with the evidence uncovered by this newspaper forming part of the basis for the challenge.
The judge expressed concern about the alleged policy of collaboration with the Zimbabwean authorities and the fact that the Home Office had failed to provide any details about the practice.
If successful, the judgement could force the UK government to reconsider the claims of hundreds of failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers who may have been subject to this policy.