A Sudanese man who walked the length of the Channel Tunnel to the UK at the height of the migrant crisis has been granted asylum. Abdul Haroun was arrested at the English end of the tunnel in August 2015 and has been in prison ever since.
He is being prosecuted under the Malicious Damage Act 1861 for clambering onto the railway line and appeared at Canterbury Crown Court via video link to confirm his name. It was during the trial that prosecutor Philip Bennetts said Haroun – who was 40 at the time of his arrest – had been granted asylum on 24 December.
He requested 14 days for the counsel to consider the new information and how it could impact legal proceedings. Judge Adele Williams agreed and adjourned the case to January 18. Haroun was released on bail and told through an interpretor conditions including where he had to live and at what time and where he had to report to police.
He is thought to be the first migrant to have made the 120-mile journey from Calais to England by foot, and dodged trains in pitch darkness to make it to Kent. After Haroun's crossing, a Eurotunnel spokesman described such a journey as "illegal" but also "dangerous" and that Haroun should expect his asylum application to be rejected.
The news of his arrest hit headlines as it came at the height of the migration across Europe. Thousands of migrants have been camped near Calais hoping to find their way to Britain with dozens attempting to sneak onto trains or trucks to make their flight.