The Home Office will pay £35,000 damages to a traumatised Rwandan orphan who was unlawfully detained for four months and tried to hang himself in custody. A High Court judge ruled that the man’s rights under articles five and eight of the European Convention on Human Rights had been violated.
The man, aged in his thirties and of Tutsi ethnicity, says that he saw his mother, father and three sisters murdered by Hutu militiamen before he was beaten with a nailed club and slashed with a machete during the Rwandan genocide in 1994
The last survivor of his family, he has since endured flashbacks and hallucinations, particularly at the time of year when his loved ones were massacred. In February 2011 he attempted to hang himself while held in an immigration detention centre.
A week earlier, during an attempt to deport him, the man had to be physically carried onto a plane accompanied by four medical escorts. He became so agitated that he had to be lowered out of the plane and the effort to remove him from Britain was abandoned.
The man arrived in Britain in 2009 and, in June 2012, the Home Office accepted that he had been attacked in Rwanda and granted him leave to remain in Britain until 2015.
Upholding the man’s damages claim in the Administrative Court, Mrs Justice Lang ruled that his detention for two periods, totalling about four months between November 2010 and March 2011, had violated his right to liberty.
Home Office lawyers conceded that, for about three months prior to his release, there had been a failure to review the man’s detention in light of his serious mental health problems. That, the judge decided, amounted to a breach of his Article 8 rights to respect for his privacy and family life.