The European Court of Human Rights has unanimously ruled that the UK government will be in violation of the European Convention of Human Rights if it carries out its planned deportation of a man dying from Aids.
The court ruled that the government would have been in violation of Article 3 of the Convention if it executed a removal order on the man, known in the case as 'D', to his home, the island of St Kitts in the Caribbean.
The court found that “the conditions which await him in St Kitts will further reduce his already limited life expectancy and subject him to acute mental and physical suffering”.
The court also said: “his removal would expose him to a real risk of dying under most distressing circumstances and would thus amount to inhuman treatment”.
The man was jointly represented by the Terrence Higgins Trust and The Aire Centre, a charitable group which advises individuals of their rights under EU law.
Welcoming the judgment, Nick Partridge, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “If he had been sent back home he would have died very quickly as medical care and drug treatments would not have been available to him.
“He would have been homeless with no family or relatives on the island and without means to support himself.”
The government of St Kitts has stated that there are no medical facilities for the man and that the drug treatments he currently receives would not be supplied to him there.
Rebecca Frances, the Terrence Higgins solicitor who has represented D since the start of 1996, said she is hoping that the Home Office will grant him exceptional leave to remain following the European judgment. She expects new Home Secretary Jack Straw and his staff at the Home Office to make a decision once they have settled in.
At present the man is being housed by charitable institutions at no cost to the taxpayer.