A political activist arrested but not charged during peaceful protests is facing illegal deportation from the UK, his lawyer has claimed.
It is thought to be the first case of its kind and has raised serious concerns that the right to peaceful protest, which is enshrined in English law, is being eroded.
Daniel Gardonyi, 34, is Hungarian but has lived in the UK for several years. He is self-employed and has been involved in several high-profile protests, including the occupation of Friern Barnet library in north London and the Sweets Way housing occupation in the borough of Barnet.
He was arrested during the recent Sweets Way protest but not charged with any offence. He then received a letter from the Home Office threatening to remove him from the UK as part of Operation Nexus, a joint police and Home Office operation designed to arrest and deport criminals from other parts of the EU living in the UK.
Lawyers say they believe it is the first time Operation Nexus has been used to target a law-abiding political protester rather than a foreign national offender.
Gardonyi’s solicitor, Daniel Furner, said parts of the letter to Gardonyi threatening to deport him appeared to be unlawful. “It appears that our client has been specifically and systematically targeted as a result of his peaceful, political activities in the UK.”
Gardonyi said: “My threatened removal from the UK for engaging in peaceful political protest has very serious implications for everyone who is engaged in legitimate and lawful protest.”
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