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4 Jan, 2016 15:08

Sudanese man who walked length of Channel tunnel given UK asylum

Sudanese man who walked length of Channel tunnel given UK asylum

Home Office officials have granted asylum to a Sudanese refugee who was arrested after walking the length of the Channel Tunnel from France to England last August.

Abdul Rahman Haroun, 40, has been held in detention since being apprehended near the tunnel’s Folkestone exit after walking through the 31-mile tunnel in just under 12 hours. Haroun was charged with obstructing railroad engines or passenger cars under the 1861 Malicious Damage Act.

On Monday, during a brief hearing at Canterbury Crown Court, prosecutor Philip Bennetts confirmed that Haroun, who appeared by video link from prison, had been granted refugee status on Christmas Eve. Bennetts requested two more weeks to consider the impact of Haroun’s new status on the criminal case. A new hearing was set for January 18.

Haroun has been supported by local refugee rights groups while in prison.

Haroun traveled through northern Africa, then sailed across the Mediterranean before walking through Europe to reach Calais.

At the time, a spokesperson for Eurotunnel said: “Not only did he run a significant risk of being seriously injured or killed, but he has also lost all possibilities to request asylum or find work in England.”

READ MORE: Hundreds of migrants try to storm Eurotunnel on Christmas Day

On Christmas Day, hundreds of migrants stranded in Calais attempted to rush the Eurotunnel, prompting clashes with police.