Dear Daily Mail: not all asylum seekers are sexual predators

The Mail uses Libyan soldiers case to blast asylum and human rights


Reporting on asylum claims by three Libyan soldiers convicted of sexual assault while training in Britain, the Daily Mail makes no bones about why the story is plastered on the front page:

“The case shows yet again how human rights laws can scupper the deportation of foreign offenders.”

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The paper’s editorial column hammers the point home:

“How much longer can we allow our asylum system to be mocked and abused – and victims betrayed – in the name of criminals’ human rights?”

As it happens, criminals do have rights, and are entitled to apply for asylum if they feel they might be in danger if deported to another country.

Some readers might be sympathetic to the idea that these men have committed crimes (and served their short sentences), and should be sent back to where they came from without delay.

They ought to notice that the very same newspaper has rather little regard for the rights of British criminals, catering to the ‘hang ’em, flog ’em’ tendency in public opinion.

In other words, human rights are for everyone.

These asylum claims surely demonstrate some nerve on the part of the offenders, but they should be decided by the Home Office applying the legal criteria for asylum, rather than a national newspaper weighing in on the side of rejection.

If this was a court case, the Mail could be in contempt for prejudicing the decision.

What is really happening is made clear by the passages above and the Mail’s past form. After all, the paper’s newfound compassion for victims of sexual assault rarely extends to female refugees.

These claims, which might be rejected, are being used to discredit the entire asylum process (and non-specified ‘human rights laws’) to suggest Britain is a ‘soft touch’ on asylum.

The reality is that:

  1. Britain receives fewer asylum claims than other European countries.
  2. While the number of asylum claims rose 2 percent last year, at 24,257 they are down massively from their peak of 84,132 in 2002.
  3. It’s very tough to be granted asylum in Britain. Many wrong decisions by the Home Office have had to be overturned by the courts.

And guess how many asylum seekers are Libyan soldiers convicted of sexual assault? Er, just these three men.


The Daily Mail  takes human rights very seriously. The second story on today’s front page has a picture of human rights lawyer Amal Clooney with the headline: ‘How killer heels are wrecking Amal’s feet’.

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Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

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11 Responses to “Dear Daily Mail: not all asylum seekers are sexual predators”

  1. JoeDM

    Well done the Mail for raising this issue.

  2. Selohesra

    Indeed not all are – but surely those that are should not be welcomed here

  3. slamdac

    Surely it can’t be right that you can use a serious sexual offence committed in the UK as grounds for asylum. If this Asylum claim is allowed it will put every woman and girl in the UK at great risk. All an Asylum Seeker will have to do is rape or sexually assault a woman or girl and they will then be allowed to stay in the UK.

  4. TB

    No… don’t be daft.

    First, no-one is suggesting here that someone has actually avoided deportation ‘because they’ve assaulted someone’. I presume the case that they’re bringing is not ‘You can’t deport me, I raped someone!’ – because who would hear that and find in their favour?

    If I remember rightly, didn’t they rape a man? In which case, they might reasonably be able to say ‘if you send us back to Libya, convicted of raping a man, we’ll be executed in the streets’.

    You couldn’t really be suggesting that people seeking asylum would, en masse, become rapists in a bid to stay in a detention centre in Britain? You can’t be that xenophobic, naive, stupid, or willfully ignorant, can you?

  5. slamdac

    They are claiming asylum based on their conviction, so they are trying to avoid deportation “because they’ve assaulted someone”

    I am suggesting that some(probably not many) may resort to rape/sexual assault in order to avoid deportation. If I was the person being sexually assaulted or a relative of them, I would be extremely angry if a person was allowed to claim asylum based on the crime committed in the UK.

    P.S. try not to resort to slurs just because someone disagrees with you.

  6. blarg1987

    They are not claiming asylum for what they have done.

    The criminal offence that has been committed and claiming asylum are two separate issues. What usually happens is that after someone serves their sentence they are deported back to their country of origin.

    What these people might be doing is claiming asylum to avoid deportation.

    I do not know the full details of this case however.

  7. slamdac

    They are claiming asylum and basing the claim on what they have done.

    I can easily foresee a situation, where somebody is from a country like Saudi Arabia or Gambia or Jamaica or Uganda or Yemen or sierra leone (or any other country). Your life may not be great but you are not being persecuted. You are in your 20’s you come to the UK for economic reasons.

    You think you may be deported. Therefore you rape or sexually assault someone. You get sentenced to 10 years and serve 5. You come out in your late 20’s or early 30’s. You claim asylum based on the persecution that you may suffer AS A RESULT OF YOUR CRIME IN THE UK. You are held in a immigration detention centre whilst the deportation proceedings are on going, however once you are granted asylum you are released and can spend the rest of your life in the UK. You can’t be held in the immigration centre as there is no longer a realistic prospect of deportation.

    You are now in your early to mid 30’s and you are free to live the rest of your life in the UK. Based on an asylum case founded on the persecution you may suffer BECAUSE OF YOUR CRIME in the UK.

    I can easily foresee desperate people doing this to stay in the UK. They may see 5 to 7 years in prison as a reasonable price to pay to stay in the UK.

    If this asylum claim is allowed it will put at risk all of the women and girls in the UK. I don’t understand how this can’t be an incentive for potential asylum seekers to commit sexual assaults.

  8. WhiteVanMan

    Ironic , a anti daily mail article next to a Anti Rod Liddle one, who the Mail committed blood libel, saying 3 men who’re innocent n terms of the law of killing Stephen Lawrence were guilty after all, and when two face a trial where the judge told the jury to ignore anything they’d heard in the press Liddle said this was near impossible,in a article, that was then critic used, as the spectator article would cause a unfair trial, but lidles article wouldn’t.
    the idea that the Spectator article meant they weren’t going to get a fair trial, considering the enormous amount of bias press coverage they’d had in the last 18 years would clearly have done more damage, that one small article criticise, the press bias,and not liking the removal of abolition of double jeopardy,as Such the liberal elite considered Liddle the bogey man,who was a Troll in the press,
    But of course saying someone’s who’s innocent in terms of the law of murder,is guilty after all wouldn’t fall into the detention of troll, would it?

  9. Mann T.

    Relative figures have no relevance here. Around 40% of the British people are sick of immigration. You may think they are nasty horrible people or benighted people but they have votes and their opinions must be taken into account.

    Two weeks ago we were told on the SAME day that the ageing population means we need a couple of million more immigrants and that over the next 20 years as many as 10 million jobs will be lost to automation and robotics. Has anyone reconciled these two statements?

  10. Cole

    Stirring up prejudice against foreigners and asylum seekers? Oh well, they’ve been doing it for decades, and it pays for the lavish lifestyle of the editor and proprietor.

  11. WhiteVanMan

    If you do delete comments’ isn’t it logical to delete the replies ,otherwise you only get one side of the argument

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