Barely a day goes by without the Daily Express complaining about the Government's failure to eject foreigners from the country, so you think they'd be pleased by the story of Farid Boukemiche, who is currently on trial in Paris accused of helping to finance terrorists.
The 34-year-old French Algerian spent three years on remand in a British jail before the case against him was dropped to avoid a public airing for evidence that could endanger undercover operations in north Africa. In June 2000 he was given a 12-month sentence for possessing false identity documents, but was released because he'd already spent so long in prison.
As today's Telegraph reports, upon his release Boukemiche tried to claim political asylum in the UK but his application was rejected and he returned to his home country, France.
Let's review the facts:
1) Man is convicted of criminal offence, but released due to time served.
2) Man attempts to claim asylum, but claim is rejected.
3) Man leaves country (legally) and returns to his home nation.
The Express should be delighted by this - Boukemiche committed a crime, was convicted, spent time in prison and then left the country. But apparently not:
That's the headline on page 15 of today's Express. But Boukemiche is not a "fugitive" in any recognised sense of the word. The terrorist case against him in Britain was dropped, he was convicted of another offence, released from prison and left the country legally after being refused asylum.
The story, written by Peter Allen and John Twomey, begins:
A MUSLIM extremist who fled Britain after the collapse of a £3million trial set up a cross-Channel terror network in France, a court heard yesterday.
Again, he didn't "flee" Britain. He left, legally, to go back to his home country after being refused the right to stay here.
Last month the Express (and the rest of the tabloid press) was up in arms about the case of Aso Mohammed Ibrahim, a failed asylum seeker who was allowed to stay in Britain at the end of a prison term that was imposed for running over and killing a 12-year-old girl. A leader comment called it a "truly sickening decision". Columnist Leo McKinstry complained that the immigration authorities showed "characteristic feebleness" when they failed to "kick him out" after his asylum claim was rejected.
But when the system DOES work, when a failed asylum seeker with a criminal record DOES leave the country after the legal system has finished with him, suddenly he becomes a "fugitive" who has "fled the country".
What, exactly, does the Express want the authorities to do with such people?