Failed asylum seeker turns up again on a dinghy in the Channel
5th December 2022

Asylum seeker who went on the run for 10 years after entering the UK in a lorry was arrested when he turned up again on a dinghy after crossing the Channel

  • Aziz Akakhel, 32, was pulled from a dinghy in the English Channel on October 29
  • Officers charged him with illegal entry and sent him to Manston detention centre
  • It emerged the Afghan national has twice failed attempts to claim asylum in UK
  • Akakhel appeared before magistrates and will go to crown court for sentencing

A failed asylum seeker had already once been deported from the UK has been picked up again – this time aboard a dinghy in the English Channel.

Aziz Akakhel, 32, was rescued by Border Force officers from a small boat between France and England on October 29.

Officers took the Afghan national to Manston immigration centre and charged him with arriving in the UK without a passport – otherwise known as a valid entry clearance.

But it was not his first attempt at entering the UK, and the court later heard Akakhel entered the UK hidden in a lorry in 2007.

Aziz Akakhel, 32, was taken to Manston immigration centre and charged him with arriving in the UK without a passport – otherwise known as a valid entry clearance

Members of Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) rescue migrants just off Dover in the channel at Dover Docks in Kent

It emerges after recent news that a group of asylum seekers were staying in £100-a-night hotels for as long as 15 months while working £5-an-hour cash-in-hand jobs.

Akakhel claimed asylum in January 2007 but that was refused a month later in February 2007 and despite appealing the decision he did not manage to secure asylum.

However, he vanished and was arrested 10 years later when he tried to get on a ferry at the Port of Dover.

He claimed he had been living in Italy since 2014 and was deported back there.

On November 11 this year Akakhel was charged with entering the UK without valid entry clearance but denied the allegation when he appeared at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court.

The case was adjourned to find an interpreter, and when Mr Akakhel reappeared at the same court on November 22 he pleaded guilty.

Sidumiso Mayo, prosecuting, told magistrates that Home Office records revealed Akakhel’s first attempt to enter the country via lorry in 2007.

She said: ‘He claimed for asylum in January 2007 and this was refused in February 2007.

The government’s system for holding and processing asylum seekers and other migrants has heavily scrutinised in recent weeks (Pictured: a father and daughter at Manston detention centre)

‘He appealed the decision in April that year and this again was refused in July the same year and he was put on reported restrictions but was reported as an absconder.’

She explained Home Office heard nothing from Akakhel until January 2017, when he was arrested at the Port of Dover.

She said: ‘He told officials he was trying to get to Italy via France, where he said he had been since 2014.’

The court was told Akakhel then agreed to voluntarily be taken back to Italy, and he was sent to Rome in 2017.

Miss Mayo said: ‘There was no further contact with him until he was intercepted in the Channel on October 29 this year.’

The case is being sent to Canterbury Crown Court for sentencing, and a date is yet to be fixed.

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