Isa Muazu granted more time in UK

Asylum seeker who was returned to UK in a failed deportation attempt will stay in the country pending judicial review

A seriously ill asylum seeker whose chartered deportation flight was turned back last week has been granted more time in his fight to remain in Britain.

Isa Muazu, who had been on hunger strike since September, was returned to the UK on Friday after a private plane meant to be taking him back to Nigeria did not land in the country.

The attempt to remove him failed as Nigerian authorities refused the plane carrying Muazu permission to land, his lawyers said.

The 45-year-old, whose hunger strike reportedly lasted more than 100 days, has been detained since he claimed asylum in July.

His solicitors at Duncan Lewis have been granted a stay of removal for Muazu pending the outcome of an oral judicial review to be heard by the upper tribunal's immigration and asylum chamber.

Toufique Hossain, public law and immigration law director at Duncan Lewis, said: "We welcome this order restraining the secretary of state for the Home Office in relation to any further attempt at removal until the outcome of the oral hearing.

"This is what we wanted all along, and thanks to the home secretary's incompetence we now have it."

Muazu, who despite being 5ft 11in (1.8m) tall, at one time weighed just eight stone (53kg), claims he faces persecution from the militant Islamic group Boko Haram if he returns to Nigeria, but has lost a series of legal challenges.

He has said that he came to the UK for a better life, and would rather die than face removal.

Following representations raised by Muazu's solicitors, the upper tribunal judge ordered an urgent hearing and that the home secretary be restrained from removing the asylum seeker until the outcome of the hearing.

The judicial review is to focus on the challenge to the home secretary's decision to certify his asylum claim and remove him to Nigeria.

Following the refusal of his lawyers' injunction to prevent Muazu's removal on November 28, the Home Office attempted to remove him by private jet.

Since returning to the UK, Muazu has been returned to the medical wing at Harmondsworth immigration detention centre in west London.

• This article was amended on 6 December 2013. The earlier version misspelled Isa Muazu's surname as Muaza. © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds