Freed to have another go at coming to Britain: French judges release 82 Calais migrants

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French judges have ordered the release on human rights grounds of 82 migrants arrested at the Calais refugee camp known as the Jungle.

The rulings could free the migrants to make fresh attempts to sneak into Britain and risk exposing the pledge by French ministers to deport illegal migrants as a farce.

The mainly Afghan men and teenagers were among 278 migrants rounded up when armed police stormed their squalid woodland camp near the French port last week.

Around half were freed within 24 hours, while the remainder were taken hundreds of miles to secure detention centres across France.

But in a series of weekend hearings, courts began ordering some of them to be released because of 'irregularities in the conditions of their transportation and detention'.

A judge in Toulouse decided the 'collective arrests' meant human rights were breached by not considering the rights of each individual at the moment they were detained.

And a judge in Nimes ruled that the migrants' rights were breached because it took 20 hours to transport them to the southern city - denying them legal advice for almost half of the 48 hours for which they can be held before being charged.

In Nimes, 38 migrants could soon be freed, along with 30 in Toulouse, eight in Marseilles and six in Rennes. In most cases, prosecutors have appealed and further hearings will be held this week. The migrants remain in custody.

A judicial source in Marseilles said: 'The judges' decisions show a clear conflict emerging between the government's promise to deport illegal migrants from Calais, and the migrants' human right not be be detained.'

Although the Jungle was bulldozed, hundred of migrants are still sleeping rough in Calais.

After the arrests, immigration minister Eric Besson vowed on live television: 'There will be forced returns for people who have no right to asylum and who reject going home voluntarily.'

Besson's pledge was backed up by President Nicolas Sarkozy, who added: 'We will organise the return of people here illegally.'

Meanwhile, another group of Afghan migrants from the Jungle camp are thought to have escaped from a secure detention centre in Nancy and said to be heading 250 miles back to Calais on foot.

Pierre Henry, of French immgrants charity Terre d'Asile, said so far 43 people from the Jungle had claimed asylum in France.

But Calais abbot Jean-Pierre Boutoille, of the refugee charity C'Sur, said hundreds more, many from the jungle camp, were still sleeping rough in the town and plotting new ways to reach Britain. continues here

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