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Ireland: Injunction Halts Nigerian Woman’s Deportation

Ireland: Injunction Halts Nigerian Woman’s Deportation

The High Court has granted Nigerian woman Pamela Izevbekhai and her two daughters an injunction preventing their deportation pending a judicial review of the case.

Mr Justice John Edwards granted Ms Izevbekhai an injunction on the grounds that her lawyers are seeking to challenge a decision by the Department of Justice, which stated that she did not have grounds to seek a subsidiary protection order to allow her to remain in this country.

The injunction was granted pending the outcome of the proceedings.

Ms Izevbekhai had sought the injunction to prevent the deportation, due to take place early next week, of herself and her daughters Naomi (7) and Jemima (5), on grounds of fear of female genital mutilation in Nigeria.

Last week at the family lost a lengthy legal battle when the High Court upheld the deportation orders.

Mel Christle SC for Ms Izevbekhai sought leave for judicial review of a decision by the Minister for Justice that Ms Izevbekhai did not have grounds to seek a subsidiary protection order.

The Minister, counsel said, had concluded that there were no grounds in which he could exercise his discretion to make such an order.

His client was informed of the Minister’s decision by letter on Wednesday, and counsel said he was seeking an order from the court to have that decision quashed on the grounds it was “irrational”, “inappropriate” and “an error in law”.

Counsel further argued that new evidence about female genital mutilation in Nigeria had not been considered by the Minister.

Mr Justice Edwards said he was satisfied an arguable case had been made on behalf of Ms Izevbekhai and her children.

The judge said that a process which greatly affects the lives of applicants “must be transparent”.

The Minister, he added, must be seen “to act rationally”, and to give adequate reasons for his decision, which in his view was not the case here.

Ms Izevbekhai sought an injunction after last week’s refusal by Mr Justice Kevin Feeney to allow her to appeal to the Supreme Court against his decision in January to dismiss Ms Izevbekhai’s challenge to deportation orders signed by the then Minister for Justice in November 2005.

Ms Izevbekhai has previously told the court she has already lost a baby daughter as a result of the “torture” of female genital mutilation in Nigeria and feared for the lives of her other two daughters if the family is deported.

Source: Irish Times – 20 March 2008