UK prosecutors press ahead with Channel Tunnel case

UK prosecutors press ahead with Channel Tunnel case

London (AFP) - Prosecutors in Britain pressed forward with a case Thursday against a Sudanese man who walked through the Channel Tunnel from France, despite the fact that he has since been granted asylum.

Haroun was arrested close to the end of the 31-mile (50-km) tunnel in southeast England last August, having walked through it from France.

He was charged with causing an obstruction to an engine or carriage using the railway.

But his case was put into doubt after he was granted asylum last month.

His defence had argued that he qualified for protection under the Article 31 of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, of which Britain is a signatory.

The convention states that members "shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened... enter or are present in their territory without authorisation."

Haroun, 40, has pleaded not guilty.

The court on Thursday set a provisional trial date for June and released Haroun on bail.

Two Iranian men who were also arrested after walking through the Channel Tunnel appeared in court on Thursday in a separate case.

Both 25-year-old Payam Moradi Mirahessari and Farein Vahdani, 20, pleaded not guilty to the obstructing charge in October.