Saturday, 24 January 2009

80 foreign murderers welcomed to Britain: Albanian killers allowed to stay despite being on Interpol 'wanted' list


Eighty foreign killers are exploiting the chaotic asylum system to set up home in Britain, it was revealed yesterday.

The convicted murderers from Albania have been given British passports despite being officially listed as 'wanted' by Interpol.

Most slipped across the Channel from Calais to Dover hidden in the back of lorries on ferries. They used bogus names and false papers to claim asylum, often pretending to be from the war-torn Balkan republic of Kosovo.

The scandal came to light when Albania's chief of police complained that 100 criminals from his country have been granted British citizenship and now live here.

Refugees

Many of the convicted murderers slipped across the Channel from Calais to Dover. Above is a feeding station for refugees in Calais (file picture)

The police chief said the criminals have been allowed to stay even though the Albanian government has informed the Home Office of the true identities of the men and their crimes, which also include rape and robbery.

Many of the convicted criminals have been living in the UK for up to ten years and have started new families here.

As the revelations exposed the shambles within the asylum system yet again, campaigners expressed their outrage.

Sir Andrew Green, of MigrationWatch, said: 'It is a real concern that people accused of, or even convicted of, very serious crimes should apparently find it so easy to gain asylum in Britain.'

Rose Dixon, of victim group Support After Murder and Manslaughter, added: 'I'm astounded. If this is correct, I'm appalled that these people are walking the streets of Britain. I think we should be told a lot more about this.'

After the Home Office was informed about the true identity of the asylum seekers, extradition proceedings against them were lodged by the Albanian Government.

double murderer.jpg


But complex legal arguments and the need to find interpreters and psychologists has led to lengthy delays.

Albanian criminals use myriad loopholes in the extradition laws to avoid being sent home.

Their lawyers often claim they will suffer human rights abuse on their return, or that trials in their absence were unfair because they could not give their side.

The situation is even more complicated if they have become British citizens. Under the Human Rights Act 1988, this gives them further protection against being removed because their family life would be disrupted.

Even when a case does finally go through a British court, it is the Home Secretary who decides the fate of the asylum seeker.

Meanwhile, many continue to live off state hand-outs while others have gone on to commit crimes in Britain.

gunman on the run.jpg


Ahmet Prenci, the Albanian chief of police, said he felt as if all his force's hard work in tracking down the culprits had been in vain.

'We have made a list of our people who are hiding in the UK,' he said. 'There are 100 criminals, and more than 80 per cent are wanted for murder and have been convicted in absentia.

'They have been given British citizenship despite our efforts to extradite them to serve prison sentences in our country.

'We are working intensively to identify, locate, and then to arrest wanted Albanian people in Britain. Unfortunately, many have British passports obtained after they claimed asylum by pretending to be Kosovans.

'We are unhappy that the courts repeatedly refuse extradition of these criminals. There is no reason for an Albanian citizen who has been involved in a crime not to be punished.'

Mr Prenci spoke out as a report by the National Audit Office revealed that Britain is struggling to cope with the growing numbers of asylum seekers.

The UK Border Agency is overwhelmed with cases. More than 300,000 asylum claims have not been processed and nine out of ten foreigners refused asylum are not sent home.

Chris Grayling, Shadow Home Secretary, said: 'The Home Office has consistently been warned about undesirables entering our country both legally and illegally, yet they seem not to have a grip on it. While the Home Office is prepared to do nothing about this, we will introduce a dedicated UK police force to secure our borders.'

A Home Office spokesman last night refused to respond to the Albanian police chief's allegations that criminals from his country were being given British citizenship even though their past was known. He said: 'We cannot comment on individual extradition cases.'

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