Asylum seeker threatened to kill himself with a razor blade

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It is unclear how the man got to Jersey, but figures show there has been a rise in illegal immigrants coming to Island by private boat.

The man arrived on 28 December 2019 and on 12 February 2020 was returned to Germany, where border officials say he was already the subject of an outstanding asylum case.

But on the day he was removed from the Island, the man smuggled a razor blade in his mouth into the initial detention area of the prison, where he threatened to take his own life. After long negotiations, the man was physically restrained.

He was returned to Germany accompanied by Customs officers.

Mark Cockerham, head of service for Customs and Immigration, said it was the force’s belief that the man was intent on reaching the UK.

As of November 2019, 20 people had been refused entry into the Island by Customs officials – ten of them had arrived on private boats and ten via the ports. By comparison, in 2018 a total of 22 foreign nationals were refused entry, three of whom arrived by private boat.

In 2017, 16 people were denied entry to the Island. Three arrived by private vessel and one by private aircraft.

Mr Cockerham said in a statement: ‘An Iranian national male arrived in Jersey via unconfirmed means on 28 December 2019 and made a claim for asylum to the Jersey Customs and Immigration Service.

‘Inquiries revealed that the person had an outstanding asylum claim in Germany, which is determined as another safe country. International conventions mean it is not appropriate for a jurisdiction to consider a person’s asylum claim while they have an outstanding claim in another safe country.

‘Therefore, following an attempt to frustrate his removal, the Iranian national was removed to Germany on 12 February 2020.’

Nick Cameron, HMP La Moye’s governor and head of the Prison Service, praised his staff for ensuring the man did not cause himself serious harm.

‘In conjunction with Customs and Immigration, we removed a detained man from the Island. During the move the individual smuggled in a piece of a broken razor blade inside his mouth. He made a number of superficial scratches and threatened to inflict more serious self-harm.

‘Thankfully he did not inflict such serious self-harm in the reception area. As per procedure, we tried to de-escalate the situation by talking to him until we made a decision to intervene and restrain him.

‘From our perspective, my staff did a great job to make sure the individual was as safe as possible and they acted in a professional manner.’

In 2018 and 2019 combined, there were 11 ‘serious’ self-harm incidents at La Moye and 33 that were classified as ‘minor’. Mr Cameron said that because of the level of injury suffered in this case, the incident was classed as a ‘minor’ self-harm event.

There have been no suicides at La Moye in the past 15 years.

The foreign nationals refused entry into the Island last year included Ukrainians (seven), Russians and Angolans (three each), Afghan and Iraqi (two each), Brazilian, Dutch and Libyan (one each).

Last summer, a Syrian man who landed on Jersey’s north coast in a dinghy was deported following a protracted Royal Court battle. The man had argued that he had received death threats from Islamic State cells in Europe and the Middle East and had threatened to kill himself if he was returned to the European state where he had already been granted asylum.

But lawyers representing the Home Affairs Minister and Customs and Immigration argued that granting the man asylum in the Island would amount to successful ‘emotional blackmail’ and ‘open the floodgates’ to Jersey for asylum seekers.

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