Failed Nigerian asylum seeker, Isa Muazu, who has been on hunger strike has been removed from the UK on a charted private jet, the BBC confirms.
Isa Muazu came to the UK in 2007 but overstayed his visa before applying for asylum on the grounds that his life was under threat from members of the Boko Haram religious sect who wanted him to become a member.
His asylum application was rejected and has been in detention ever since, refusing to eat or consent to any medical treatment unless he is released on bail.
Describing himself as looking like “a skeleton”, Mr Muazu now weighs just 53 kilos, despite being 5 foot 11 tall.
A letter signed by leading actors, artists and campaigners was delivered to Home Secretary Theresa May on Thursday demanding she show clemency on his case. The 100 signatories included Juliet Stevenson, Dame Harriet Walter and author Stella Duffy.
The Court of Appeal ruled against his bail application on Monday.
Further applications filed on his behalf by his lawyers at midnight on Thursday and Friday morning were also refused.
His Solicitor, Taofique Hossain, believes his flight left at 0800 hrs on Friday morning.
Neither the Home Office nor the charter flight company would comment.
On Thursday night protesters gathered outside Harmondsworth detention centre, near Heathrow Airport.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed one man was arrested for criminal damage and was reported to have glued himself to a gate.
Duncan Lewis Solicitors said in a statement that Mr Muazu feared he would be “killed by Islamic extremists” on his return to Nigeria.
Mr Hossain also said that Mr Muazu’s removal was originally set by a scheduled Virgin Atlantic flight for 27 November.
Although the Home Office stated that the reason for opting for a chartered private jet was due to “express reasons of administrative preference” it may not be unconnected to an appeal made by John Packer, Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, calling on Virgin Atlantic not to cooperate with the Home Office on this matter.
Mr Hossain said: “The home secretary went to great lengths to remove this seriously-ill man from the UK.
“She didn’t allow him an in-country right of appeal against his asylum refusal – at massive expense to taxpayers, she hired a private charter plane to remove Mr Muazu to Nigeria.”
Mr Hossain said he now “did not know” where Mr Muazu was. “We lost contact with him late last night,” he said.
“We fear for his safety now on return but we will be looking at pursuing further appeals if we do make contact with him in Nigeria. He should not have been removed from the UK.”