A Sudanese refugee who was arrested and later granted asylum in the UK after walking the entire length of the Channel Tunnel in August 2015 will be tried in June 2016. Abdul Haroun, 40, appeared at Canterbury Crown Court on 21 January, when he was bailed until 3 March, BBC reported, and denies a charge of causing an obstruction to an engine or carriage under the Malicious Damage Act 1861.
The decision of the courts was praised by Eurotunnel, which had previously criticised the awarding of asylum to Haroun. Eurotunnel spokesman John Keefe told IBTimes: "In general terms, we think it's a positive move because it sends a clear message that it is not right to break into the country by illegal means. It was a criminal act so we are pleased the courts are pursuing it."
Haroun was granted asylum in the country on Christmas Eve 2015, and had manage to walk the majority of the 31-mile tunnel without being detected, only discovered by security near the exit to the tunnel in Folkestone. It is also believed Haroun dodged out of the way of trains in the darkness of the tunnel, becoming the first person to have reached the UK via Calais on foot.
Thousands of refugees are currently stranded in Calais, in a situation worsening with the bad weather and a lack of official recognition as a refugee camp. While many refugees in 'the jungle' in Calais are awaiting decisions on whether or not they may remain in France officially, others are attempting to reach the UK, with at least 12 people killed in 2015 in or around the tunnel.
In recent days, sections of the camp in Calais have been bulldozed and inhabitants moved to a camp of shipping containers nearby.
A provisional date for Haroun's trial has been set for 20 June.