British Embassy apologises for ‘distress’ caused to Omani girls detained at Stansted Airport
- Credit: Archant
The British Embassy in Muscat has today apologised after four Omani girls were reported to have been handcuffed and held at Stansted Airport before being put on a plane back to where they flew from.
According to an article published in the Muscat Daily on Monday, the girls had travelled to London for a few days’ study break on February 13, but missed their initial flight from Eindhoven, Holland, where they are students, forcing them to travel a few hours later.
The suspicions of immigration officials were raised by the delay, according to the report, and two of the girls were flown back on the next flight out of Stansted, on the last seats available on the plane.
The two remaining girls, Feithla Faisal al Abdul Salam and her friend, referred to as Adhraa, claimed they were not allowed to fly back anywhere in Holland, as they wanted to do, but had to wait until the following morning to ensure a flight back to Eindhoven.
“We slept on the chairs in the detention room for the next 20 hours,” Adhraa told the Muscat Daily.
“The next day, security officials came to take us to the detention facility at the Immigration Removal Center. They handcuffed us and took us through the airport to the van as if we were criminals.”
In the article, the girls say that they repeatedly attempted to contact the Omani Embassy but were reportedly told it had nothing to do with their case.
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A statement issued by the British Embassy this afternoon (Tuesday) said they were not yet commenting on the particulars of the case, but apologised for the “distress” caused.
It read: “We understand the concern about the story, reported in the Muscat Daily on Monday, of two Omani girls denied entry to the UK on arrival at London Stansted Airport who were restrained, temporarily detained and returned to their airport of embarkation. We are sorry for the distress that has been caused in the handling of this case.
“The British Embassy in Muscat has asked the Home Office to establish, as a matter of urgency, what happened and whether there are different measures that need to be taken in future.”
A spokesman for the Home Office added: “The UK welcomes tens of thousands of Omani nationals to the UK every year and only a tiny fraction ever experience any difficulties at the border.
“We are aware of these claims and an investigation into the circumstances is ongoing. It would therefore be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.”