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Migrants’ boat capsizes off coast of Turkey

The Turkish Daily newspaper Hurriyet reports the death of four Palestinian migrants after their boat capsized off the coast of Turkey. One person is reported missing.  The boat said to be carrying 18 Palestinians including minors capsized late Thursday night. Some of the passengers were rescued by local residents who heard the screams. It is likely that the boat was heading for one of the Greek Islands, a usual destination for migrants and Turkey is considered to be a major route for people smuggling from Asia into Europe.

17th November 2009.

 

Indonesia may expel Sri Lankan asylum seekers

The Indonesian authorities have intercepted 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers in a ship on Indonesian waters at Sumatra whilst trying to reach Australia. The asylum seekers are said to be of Tamil ethnic origin.

Australian and Indonesian authorities have agreed to a deal whereby the asylum seekers would be taken to an Indonesian detention centre however, the asylum seekers refuse to leave the ship. The Indonesian authorities have warned that they may be returned if they refuse to co-operate with identity checks.

The two countries are preparing for an agreement whereby the Australian government would hand over money to the Indonesian government to intercept asylum seekers on ships and to prevent them from reaching Australia. The move has been criticized by many.

29 October 2009

Breach of International Human Rights Law by Italy
The European Council on Refugees and exiles (ECRE) has reported concern over the Italian authorities returning of migrants to Libya. The migrants found crossing on international water into Italy are said to be being removed back to Libya despite Italy’s obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. The migrants who include pregnant women and children were found in May 2009 by Italian coast guards and removed without an assessment as to their protection needs.
The ECRE has expressed concern as to the human rights conditions in Libya and the potential risks of return for the migrants who were not given the opportunity to seek asylum or protection from the Italian authorities. The ECRE stresses the obligation of ‘non-refoulement’ which provides that refugees cannot be returned to countries where they will face persecution. The ECRE maintains that this obligation on member states does not only arise when the refugee is on their territory or at their border but also, where the refugee is under its effective or de-facto jurisdiction including international waters.

24/10/09

Pakistan visa service update

Home Secretary Alan Johnson recently assured the Pakistani authorities that the Home Office are working to provide a more efficient service to Pakistani nationals on his last visit to the Country. He acknowledged the problems suffered over the summer due to IT problems and announced that the Home Office is working to reduce visa waiting times. The offices in Islamabad expect that visa processing times will be reduced to 15 days from November this year in accordance with customer service standards.

8th October 2009
UK Border Agency staff to strike

Immigration staff at the Home Office are contemplating a strike commencing 5th August which could have a knock on effect on inbound and outbound travellers. Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union are said to have voted in favour of a two day strike due to disputes in respect of work place changes following the merging of Immigration and Customs staff.

The PCS are protesting against duties given to them such as strip and search for which they have not been properly trained.

A spokesperson for the UK Border Agency stated that little disruption was anticipated.
 
Date: 01/08/2009
Gary Mckinnon loses extradition appeal
The British computer hacker Gary McKinnon who is facing charges of hacking into American defence computers has lost an appeal in the High Court in  the UK against his extradition to the US where he could face a sentence of up to 70 years in a high-security prison.

Mr McKinnon has been described in the US as the biggest military hacker of all time. H e admitted hacking into 97 computers , leaving a message “ I will continue to disrupt” but he maintains his obsessions (for proof of unidentified flying objects) let to his misguided hacking activities from his flat in London.

The US government argued that his hacking activities were deliberate effort to breach US military systems in 2001-02 and  repairs cost  was $700,000 (£430,000) .

His lawyer argued that he suffers from Asperger's syndrome and a trial in  USA would be disastrous for his health.

His mother, Janice Sharpe says today's ruling is devastating.

"I've appealed to Obama and to Gordon Brown - do they want the first computer hacker ever to be extradited to be a guy looking for UFO's who has Asperger's syndrome?" she said.

"It's a disgrace."

The Free Gary campaignhas won the support of more than 100 MPs and received vociferous backing from the Daily Mail and celebrities such as as Bob Geldof, Chrissie Hynde, Barry Norman, Jilly Cooper and Julie Christie.
Date : 31/07/09
 
Salt Lake City Law Firm pleads not guilty to immigration fraud charges….
Attorney James Hector Alcala of The Alcala Law firm and his associates were charged with making fraudulent visa applications for ineligible foreign nationals. Alcala and two others were released from jail on Wednesday on the proviso that they wear ankle monitors. The Investigation continues…
Date: 30/07/2009
A law firm in Salt Lake City has been charged with conducting what is deemed as, one of the greatest immigration frauds uncovered…
 
Attorney James Hector Alcala of The Alcala Law firm and his associates stand accused of lying on immigration visa applications in three US counties including Utah. They are charged with obtaining work visas for ineligible foreign nationals on behalf of their clients consisting of corporate Companies. Investigators suspect that this could be one of the largest fraud operations uncovered in Utah where State Bar officials have commenced disciplinary proceedings against Alcala. The investigation continues….
 
Date: 20/07/2009
 
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