Anorak News | Abdul Rahman Haroun: refugee, migrant, African, brave, desperate, criminal and free

Abdul Rahman Haroun: refugee, migrant, African, brave, desperate, criminal and free

by | 23rd, June 2016

Abdul Rahman Haroun, 40, left his native Sudan  in 2004. On August 4 2015, Mr Haroun walked through the 31-mile long Channel Tunnel and claimed asylum. The Express says there is “outrage” as “migrant is freed”.  It laments the “border shambles” that allows Haroun to be a free man. Reading that you might suppose that Mr Haroun escaped any legal censure for his actions.

Not so.


haroun asylum


The Independent’s headline is at odds with the Express. It turns Mr Haroun from migrant to “refugee”. The Indy sums up: “Refugee Abdul Rahman Haroun given nine-month prison sentence for walking through Channel Tunnel to reach UK… He was prosecuted under Victorian legislation – the Malicious Damage Act 1861 – for ‘obstructing an engine or a carriage using a railway’.”

The Express quotes an MP who says Haroun received only a “slap on the wrist”. The MP says Haroun should have been deported automatically. The Express says Haroun benefitted from a “soft touch” justice system. Haroun has been “rewarded [for his criminality] with leave to remain and taxpayer handouts”.

The Mail says Haroun is “free to work and live here… if he has a wife and child under 18 he can bring them to Britain”.

Mr Haroun is free. That much is true. But only because from the time of his arrest until January this year Mr Haroun was a prisoner at HMP Elmley in Kent. In December 2015, the “African migrant” (Telegraph) was granted permission to remain in the UK as a refugee.

In January, he was bailed. At Canterbury Crown Court Mr Haroun, who “braved speeding trains” (New York Times) pleaded guilty.

The Daily Star sees no bravery. It states: “Migrant who walked through Chunnel free to live here – despite guilty plea.” The paper adds: “The news comes after truck drivers told of their fears of another summer of migrant mayhem in Calais, France.”

The final word is with the judge, Adele Williams, who “acknowledged Haroun had travelled from Sudan ‘in a state of desperation'” (Sky News). She added: “The reason why the courts of the United Kingdom take such a serious view of this criminality is that those who enter in this way seek to evade the authorities, who can, therefore, have no check upon who is entering the country. In the world in which we live of international crime and terrorism that is a very serious matter.”

So was the bigger crime in letting a man wander through the Channel Tunnel undetected?

PS – Mr Haroun plans to appeal his conviction.

Posted: 23rd, June 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Reviews, Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink