Tuesday, December 11, 2012
By JACK DOYLE
Blocked: A European Court of Human Rights ruling last year blocked the return of dozens of Somali criminals who the judges said could be harmed if returned to their homeland
A Somali rapist who cannot be deported because of human rights laws has spent nearly a decade in prison since completing his sentence – at a cost to taxpayers of £400,000.
The man, who has not been named, was jailed for eight years for a serious sexual assault but completed his jail term in September 2002.
Since then he has been held almost constantly in Lincoln Prison because ministers are powerless to kick him out.
Judges have refused to deport Somali nationals because they could face ‘inhumane or degrading treatment’ – a breach of Article 3 of of the Human Rights Act.
A single year in prison is estimated to cost around £45,000.
That means the extra time he has remained in prison at the end of his jail term has cost taxpayers a small fortune.
The man was released in 2007 following an order by an immigration judge.
But he was returned to prison the following year having failed to comply with the conditions of his bail.
Whitehall sources said that while it was unacceptable for the man to remain in prison, it was better than him being out on the streets and a threat to the public.
A European Court of Human Rights ruling last year blocked the return of dozens of Somali criminals who the judges said could be harmed if returned to their homeland.
Article 3, which protects against torture and inhuman treatment, is an ‘absolute’ right, meaning it applies regardless of the offences committed.
The new case was revealed in a report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons Nick Hardwick, who was examining conditions in the Category B jail in Lincolnshire.
The report said: ‘We found two foreign national prisoners who had been held for lengthy periods beyond the end of their sentence, one for a shocking nine years beyond the end of his sentence.
‘It cannot be right that they continue to be detained for so long without the authority of a court.’