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Fast Track

Saturday, June 13, 2015 4:43
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Former Ambassador, Human Rights Activist

I am delighted that a judge yesterday ruled that the Fast Track asylum appeals system is illegal. It is the most appalling abuse, specifically designed to limit the capacity of individuals in life threatening circumstances to properly develop and present their legal case and put it before a judge. The system of putting law-abiding people, often families, into detention harsher than our harshest maximum security prisons, allowed just one hour a day out of a tiny cell for exercise, is a minor inconvenience compared to the fundamental denial of proper right to justice. The recent tragic deportation of Majid Ali was just the latest of a series of fast track cases I have encountered. Nadira has finished the script of a short film about a tragic couple, based on substantial research of true stories of fast track detention, and is developing the production.

Reading online comments on media articles about this judgement, it is extraordinary how many people have forgotten that this dreadfully inhumane fast track scheme was introduced by New Labour, and its parents were Jack Straw, Lord Falconer, and the rest of the callous war criminals.

I agree entirely with the campaigners who state that having rightly ruled fast track illegal because of its denial of justice, to suspend the judgement while the government appeals is entirely illogical, and holds that denial of justice is less important than inconvenience to the executive. Theresa May is sufficiently bloody-minded to go ahead with fast track deportations in the interim. I fear she will even speed them up.

I am on my own fast track at the moment. A week today I have to leave for Ghana, and before I go I have finally to put the finishing touches to Sikunder Burnes and get it to the publisher. So forgive me if I disappear for a bit.


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