African man jailed for drug trafficking

In Court
In Court

A convicted drugs trafficker from West Africa who refused to co-operate with efforts by the Secretary of State to deport him from the UK while being detained at the Morton Hall immigration centre near Doddington has been jailed for 12 months.

Abel Oge-Dengbe was recommended for deportation in 2006 after he was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment at Manchester Crown Court for conspiracy to import Class A drugs.

Oge-Dengbe, 54, had been granted UK asylum in 2002 after fleeing his native Sierra Leone but following the conviction he was informed his refugee status was going to be removed, a court was told.

In April last year Oge-Dengbe was notified that arrangements had been made for him to speak to the Sierra Leone High Commission about deportation to his native country, Lincoln Crown Court heard.

Arrangements were made for a telephone conference with the Sierra Leone High Commission while Oge-Dengbe was being detained at the Morton Hall immigration centre, - but he refused to co-operate.

During in an interview in August last year Oge-Dengbe explained that he would be tortured and killed if he returned to Sierra Leone, the court was told. Sunil Khanna, mitigating, told the court that until 1994 Oge-Dengbe lived in Sierra Leone with his wife and family who ran a wealthy diamond business.

“His father was a well known politician,” Mr Khanna added. “ In 1994 he witnessed a massacre of 600 people. His father, mother and wife were murdered.

“He reported it to British troops. As a result he was targeted by Government authorities. He went to Gambia and got a job as security guard but was tracked down.”

Mr Khanna said Oge-Dengbe had not exhausted all legal avenues to stay in the UK and was hoping for a Judicial Review of his case after applying to the European Court of Human Rights.

“He faced a stark choice,” Mr Khanna added. “Refuse to co-operate with the instructions from the Secretary of State or go back to Sierra Leone where he would be tortured and killed.”

Oge-Denbe, of no fixed address, admitted a single charge of failing to take action required by the Secretary of State.

Passing sentence Judge Michael Heath made it clear that any proceedings to do with his stay in the UK were nothing to do with his court.