The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today’s winner is the UK Border Agency. They get the award for the following

THE taxpayer will be picking up the bill for the deportation of an Iranian family who then had to be returned to the UK by officials because they had been given temporary leave to stay.

Leila Mountakhabi, 30, is seeking asylum with her husband and baby son after news of her affair with a local man became public in Iran, where adultery is punishable by death.

The three were granted leave to stay in the UK pending a High Court review just minutes before their flight was due to take off from Heathrow but officials with them did not check the outcome of their hearing.

And when their solicitor called to congratulate them on escaping deportation, he discovered they were already in Tehran.

Ms Mountakhabi, her husband Sourena Jawkar and their 19-month-old son Danoush were then flown directly back to the UK with their six Home Office escorts, who upgraded to first class and left the family in economy.

*****

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said: “We are reviewing these events and we will learn any lessons to be learnt. We would not remove any asylum seeker until court proceedings are resolved.”

The Home Office refused to disclose the cost to the taxpayer of the nine wasted flight tickets to and from Tehran.

I might be wrong, but I’d say in excess of $15,000 but less than 25,000. You never know, government bureaucracies aren’t known for bargain shopping.

It took six people to escort them back to Iran. These aren’t terrorists, but a family with a small child. Couldn’t officials stayed on the plane too till the door was closed before leaving?

Was anyone aware a lawyer working for the family was still appealing? If they weren’t, why?

The whole story is a comedy of errors and that’s why I name UK Border Agency today’s Knucklehead of the Day.

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