An Iranian paedophile who has fought a 14-year asylum battle claims he cannot be deported because he has converted to Christianity and is tattooed with a cross.
The 45-year-old sex offender –described as a ‘danger to the community’ but who The Mail on Sunday is banned from naming by a court order – was baptised just 11 days before he lodged his latest legal appeal to stay in Britain.
Last year, an immigration judge threw out his claim and ruled his failure to acknowledge the ‘wretchedness’ of his sickening crimes showed he was not a Christian.
But, in an astonishing development, the judge has been rebuked by a more senior judge for a ‘wholly inappropriate analysis’ of the paedophile’s ‘relationship with God’.
The case, which has already come before six judges during a seemingly endless cycle of appeals, will have to be heard all over again at another immigration tribunal.
An Iranian paedophile who has fought a 14-year asylum battle claims he cannot be deported because he has converted to Christianity and is tattooed with a cross (Stock image)
More than 300 migrants have lodged appeals with the Upper Tier immigration tribunal on the basis of having converted to Christianity (Stock image)
The criminal, known as MM, is one of more than 300 migrants to have lodged appeals with the Upper Tier immigration tribunal on the basis of having converted to Christianity.
Other cases include a 43-year-old man from Bangladesh who was jailed for a minimum of 12 years for murdering his wife, and a 37-year-old Somalian career criminal convicted of 12 offences, including assault and burglary.
Meanwhile, chemical attack suspect Abdul Ezedi was granted asylum after claiming to have converted to Christianity, despite having two convictions for sex assault and exposure.
Yesterday, police were searching the Thames in central London, with officers saying they believe the 35-year-old is likely to have drowned after falling into the river from Chelsea Bridge.
He was last seen leaning over railings there shortly before midnight on January 31.
Former Home Secretary Dame Priti Patel last night described the MM case as ‘appalling’, adding: ‘The Church must stop giving succour to dangerous criminals and those who seek to exploit our system.
‘These violent criminals must go from prison to plane. That’s what the public expects.’
The Church of England has insisted that it is not its job to vet asylum seekers.
Court documents obtained by the MoS reveal how MM illegally entered the UK in 2010 after leaving Iran. His first claim for asylum was rejected two months after his arrival – triggering a string of appeals.
Six years later, while waiting to discover whether he had been granted indefinite leave to remain, he was convicted of two counts of sexual assault and jailed for seven-and-a-half years.
Court papers reveal he committed sex offences against a child.
The sex offender was baptised just 11 days before he lodged his latest legal appeal to stay in Britain (Stock image)
He was served with deportation papers in 2018, but submitted a human rights appeal.
Later that year he started attending his prison’s chapel. However, by early 2020, his appeal appeared to have been defeated and he was close to being deported.
He then submitted a new human rights claim based on the risk that he would be tortured and killed in Iran because he had abandoned his Muslim faith. He also claimed he would be at risk because his brother worked for the BBC.
On February 19, 2020 – 11 days before this new claim was filed – he was baptised. He also claimed to have a tattoo of a Christian cross, although the Home Office alleged his interest in Christianity began only shortly before he was jailed.
In March 2021, Judge Paul Cruthers allowed his appeal, ruling MM ‘had become genuinely committed to the Christian faith’ and would be at ‘real risk’ in Iran.
The judge was said to have been ‘impressed’ by evidence from Wesley Downs, the boss of Christian charity Renewal North West, who provided a weekly study group in MM’s prison. Mr Downs this weekend declined to comment.
Later that year Judge Cruthers’ ruling was overturned by the Upper Tribunal and MM’s case was returned to the First Tier tribunal.
This time, in a scathing ruling, another judge rejected MM’s case and said he did not believe his claim to have converted to Christianity.
He lambasted the offender for ‘minimising’ his crime and ‘victim blaming’ and said he had ‘failed to show he has honestly and sincerely acknowledged the seriousness of his sex offences against a child’.
Despite this, MM was allowed to appeal and in a ruling last month Upper Tribunal Judge Peter Lane criticised the earlier decision, saying the judge ’embarked upon an… inappropriate analysis, peppered with rhetorical questions, of the appellant’s relationship with God’.
The criticised judge was not named in publicly available documents and the judiciary last week declined to release his name.