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Migrant smuggler is jailed for Channel boat crossing

A PEOPLE smuggler who tried to bring himself and nine others into Britain on an inflatable boat has been jailed.

Sudanese national Altaib Mobarak, 43, was intercepted by a Border Force cutter as he attempted to bring seven adults and two vulnerable children to the UK from France on July 7. The passengers — all from Sudan and Yemen — were brought to Dover and passed to immigration officials.

Mobarak admitted driving the boat and was jailed for two years at Canterbury crown court on Tuesday for facilitating illegal entry to the UK.

Risking lives: Altaib Mobarak and (above) the boat he used to try to bring nine other people into the UK PICTURES: SWNS

Dan O’Mahoney, the UK’s clandestine Channel threat commander, said: ‘Those attempting to cross the Channel in unsuitable boats and without appropriate maritime skills are putting at risk the lives of all those on board.’

Meanwhile, a Sudanese migrant who died trying to cross the Channel in a child-sized dinghy has been named as Abdulfatah Hamdallah — and may have been aged 28, rather than 16 as first thought.

Reports in France suggest a driving licence with a photo and 1992 birth date was retrieved from his body, which was found on a beach in Sangatte, near Calais, on Wednesday.

Boulogne’s deputy prosecutor Philippe Sabatier said the migrant’s shaken friend told officials they attempted the crossing in a stolen 4ft-long ‘makeshift’ inflatable using shovels as oars that punctured the dinghy.

Border Force dealt with 11 incidents involving 164 people trying to cross the Channel on Wednesday.

Asylum rules in the UK

Must migrants apply for asylum in the first safe country they reach?

There is no legal obligation on someone to apply for asylum in the first safe haven, according to the 1951 Refugee Convention. Refugees can legitimately claim asylum in Britain after passing through other ‘safe’ countries, according to the convention and UK case law. A ruling in 1999 said an ‘element of choice is indeed open to refugees as to where they may properly claim asylum’, not barring people if they had included ‘any merely short-term stopover en route’.

Can Britain send asylum seekers elsewhere?

The EU’s Dublin Regulation does allow countries to send asylum seekers back to another EU country to be processed, if they have previously applied for asylum there.

Are people crossing the Channel illegal immigrants?

It is illegal to cross the Channel and enter Britain without authorisation, but anyone arriving can apply for asylum if — as the Refugee Convention states — they ‘present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence’ and ‘they are coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened’.

How do asylum applications in Britain compare with other countries?

There were 49,000 applications for asylum in the UK last year, far fewer than Germany’s 165,000 and France’s 129,000. At least 650 people have made the cross-Channel trip this month, with France rescuing almost 200 people from the sea. More than 4,700 people have reached Britain by small boat this year.

A NEW campaign aims to help victims of the Windrush scandal claim compensation. Announcing the Windrush Help Team, home secretary Priti Patel said she would ensure ‘nothing like this can happen again’. Migrants from the Caribbean were challenged over their status despite living in the UK legally for decades. Fewer than eight per cent who made claims have had payouts.