A failed asylum seeker who has dodged deportation from Britain for nearly a decade has been told he can stay – because he goes to the gym.Source: Daily Mail
Amir Beheshti, 40, has been trying to get refugee status for seven years, but was repeatedly turned down by the courts, who ruled he would not suffer if he returned to his home country Iran.
But he has now told judges he has a private life that involves going for work-outs with his friends – which means his human rights would be violated if he was deported.
The controversial legal ruling by Scotland’s Court of Session means he will be allowed to continue living rent-free in his publicly funded flat and claiming a weekly allowance.
Earlier this month, a top Scottish judge issued a written decision in which he agreed the case should be referred back to Home Secretary Theresa May for fresh consideration.
This effectively means the threat of deportation has been removed and Beheshti is free to remain in Scotland indefinitely.
Lord Glennie’s judgment read: ‘He had integrated well within the Glasgow community, had a large network of friends, most of whom were Scottish, and socialised with those friends at the gymnasium, at five-a-side football, in coffee shops, at college, in the library and at their homes.
‘He went on to say that he made use of local facilities, such as the library and Glasgow leisure centres'.
Beheshti’s claim, it said, was ‘based on Article 8 ECHR and, in particular, on the fact that he had, so he claimed, established a private life in the UK.
Beheshti was smuggled into Dover on a lorry in 2005.
‘If the occasional trip to the gym is enough to allow a failed asylum seeker to appeal his deportation, then taxpayers will wonder who can’t claim a right to stay'
In his asylum application he claimed his father’s pro-Jewish sympathies put him in danger in Iran – but it was rejected, as were two appeals.
Having travelled to Glasgow, where he lived with his sister for two years, he appealed to the Court of Session.
But in June 2009, Lord Osborne ruled he had consistently failed to provide any ‘credible’ evidence that he would personally face any persecution or disadvantage in Iran.
The decision marked the end of Beheshti’s rights of appeal.
Technically, he should then have been removed as an illegal immigrant, but no action to deport him was taken.
In February 2010, Beheshti wrote to UKBA, asking for ‘leave to remain’ based on Article 8 ECHR. When that was rejected, he launched another appeal to the Court of Session. This appeal was the one that led to him being allowed to stay.
Beheshti said recently that he ‘feels comfortable’ in Glasgow and does not have anybody left back in Iran.
Last night, his case - which has already cost the public purse tens of thousands of pounds - sparked outrage.
Emma Boon of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘If the occasional trip to the gym is enough to allow a failed asylum seeker to appeal his deportation, then taxpayers will wonder who can’t claim a right to stay.
‘He should have been deported when his case was initially rejected. It’s appalling that we are left picking up all of his bills when he should have been sent home years ago'.
A UK Border Agency (UKBA) spokesman said: ‘Too often, Article 8 [of the European Convention on Human Rights, guaranteeing the right to a private and family life] has been used to place the family rights of illegal migrants above the rights of the British public in seeing our immigration laws properly enforced, and that balance needs to be redressed.
‘The Government will change the immigration rules to reinforce the public interest in seeing those who have breached our immigration laws removed from this country.
‘We have been seeking to remove this individual, but we have been asked by the courts to look again at this case.
‘Where we do not believe someone has the right to stay in this country, we expect them to return home'.