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Channel Tunnel refugee pleads guilty in UK court to obstructing railway

He spent five months in jail until he was granted asylum on Dec. 24 and released on bail the following month.



London: A Sudanese man who walked through the Channel Tunnel last year in an extreme example of the desperate measures some refugees are prepared to take to reach Britain, pleaded guilty in a British court on Wednesday to obstructing a railway.

Abdul Haroun, 40, who fled his home in the war-torn region of Darfur, was arrested by British police on Aug. 4 as he exited the tunnel after walking 50 km (30 miles) from France in near total darkness as trains sped by.

He spent five months in jail until he was granted asylum on Dec. 24 and released on bail the following month, but continued to face a criminal charge under the obscure Malicious Damage Act of 1861.

Haroun had previously pleaded not guilty but changed his plea at Canterbury Crown Court on Wednesday.

Tunnel operator Eurotunnel and some politicians had called for him to face the full force of the law to deter others from following his example.

Refugee rights campaigners have said he should not be prosecuted for the way he entered a country of sanctuary, but rather should be free to rebuild his life in Britain.

From Zee News

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