Two migrants who were at the forefront of a mob that confronted French police officers on a beach near Calais have been jailed.
Salih Talib Abdullah, 33, and Ahmed Omar Saleh Khater, 25, were sentenced to 14 months and 12 months respectively at Canterbury Crown Court for attempting to arrive in the UK illegally.
The French Police were attempting to stop the migrants launching a small boat towards the UK on Oye Plage beach in June this year when they were after officers trying to stop them.
A team of UK-funded gendarmes were on patrol in the area when they came across a group of 51 migrants in the process of launching the boat and they attempted to stop them from crossing.
Some of the migrants were armed with makeshift weapons such as rocks, and caused injuries to the French officers before successfully crossing the channel.
The court heard that following communications between the UK and French authorities, the two defendants were identified and arrested by officers from the Home Office’s Criminal and Financial Investigations unit as soon as they reached Dover.
When the small boat was picked up by RNLI Dover, all 51 people onboard were photographed and Abdullah and Khater were identified as suspects.
The French Police wore body cameras which showed the two defendants confronting the officers.
The Times reports one officer suffered a violent blow to his left calf, another suffered an open wound to his head, and a third received a blow from a stick. Other unidentified migrants could be seen throwing rocks and shouting abuse at the officers.
Abdullah from Iraq, and Khater from Sudan pleaded guilty to attempting to arrive in the UK without valid entry clearance at an earlier hearing in June.
Kerry Waitt, for the defence, noted that both defendants had no previous convictions and were in a distressing situation, having paid large amounts to smugglers to gain entry into the country.
He said: “The defendant [Khater] has living in the UK a cousin and an uncle. He suffers from epilepsy and came to the UK to seek a better life and treatment. In order to travel to the UK his mother sold her gold. He had to pay £900 for his place on the boat.”
In sentencing, Recorder Sarah Counsell told Khater: “You and a number of other men were brandishing large sticks and threatening the officers. I have seen the body-worn video footage showing your actions and those of other men.”
Charlie Eastaugh, director of International Operations for the Small Boats Operational Command in the Home Office, said: “We will not tolerate violence against our French partners, particularly by those attempting dangerous and illegal small boat launches that threaten the border security of the UK.”