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Bid to deport Samim Bigzad fails as pilot refuses take-off

25 Feb 2019 Daily Mail Online

As Samim Bigzad, pictured, was escorted on to the commercial flight the pilot told guards: 'You're not going to take him, I'm not flying'

The deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker has failed after the pilot of the plane on which he was due to be removed from Britain refused to take off from Heathrow.

Samim Bigzad had been booked on to a commercial flight back to his home country after his application to remain in the UK was refused by immigration officers - despite his claims that he was facing beheading by the Taliban.

But as the hysterical 22-year-old was escorted on to the Turkish Airlines jet the pilot came out of the cockpit and reportedly told guards: 'You're not going to take him, I'm not flying. Someone's life is at risk.'

As he was taken on to the aircraft, Mr Bigzad - who came to the UK two years ago via the migrant camps at Calais - was said to have been 'crying and shouting' while screaming at officials: 'I'm going to get killed in Afghanistan.'

Although he was ultimately given a last-minute reprieve by the pilot, as campaigners watched the jet taking off 45 minutes late from the ground they feared their efforts had been in vain.

They only discovered later that the construction worker had been taken back to the Brook House immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport.

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Hours before the plane took off campaigners approached unwitting passengers at the check-in desk to explain their flight was being used for a forcible deportation in a bid to get the message passed to the jet's crew.

Bridget Chapman, who organised the trip, told the Independent's Lizzie Dearden: 'We asked people to do whatever they were comfortable with raising it with airline staff.'

'Airport security asked us to stop after a while, but by that point most people had boarded.'

Under EU aviation regulations pilots have the final say over who boards their plane as well as if or when it takes off.

Mr Bigzad, 22, pictured, came to the UK two years ago via the migrant camps at Calais

Hours before the Turkish Airlines plane took off campaigners approached unwitting passengers at the check-in desk to explain their flight was being used for a forcible deportation (stock photo)

The rules state that captains are responsible for the 'safety of the aircraft and of all crew members, passengers and cargo on board'.

EU rules that give pilots the power to deny boarding

Regulations issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency give pilots the power to deny boarding - and even refuse to take off.

They state that captains are responsible for 'the safety of the aircraft and of all crew members, passengers and cargo on board during aircraft operations'.

The EU rules add that pilots 'have the authority to refuse carriage' to anyone who 'may represent a potential hazard'. 

It came after thousands of protesters signed a petition calling for a three-month reprieve for Mr Bigzad to appeal the Home Office's decision to remove him from the UK.

The Afghan is said to have been threatened with beheading by the Taliban because of his job at a construction company with links to the country's government as well as American firms - both enemies of the jihadists.

After arriving in the UK in November 2015 he moved to Kent to care for his father - a British citizen and former Afghan national who was tortured by the Taliban in the 1990s. His cousin Arash is also thought to live in the Kent area.

Following death threats made by phone, Mr Bigzad fled to Britain via Turkey, Greece and France before ultimately hiding in the back of a lorry crossing to Britain.

He had most recently been staying with a British woman - Kavel Rafferty - in Margate, Kent, for four months before being detained during a routine immigration appointment.

A Home Office spokesman told MailOnline: 'We would not comment on individual cases.'

Original Link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4833982/Bid-deport-Samim-Bigzad-fails-pilot-refuses-off.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490

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