Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Migrants involved in violence against French officers jailed [September 2023]

The press release issued by the Home Office on 8 September 2023.

Two small boat migrants at the centre of a mob that used violent disorder to make their way to the UK illegally on a small boat have been jailed.

Salih Taib Abdullah, 33, and Ahmed Omar Saleh Khater, 25, were sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court today (8 September) to a combined total of two years and two months’ imprisonment for attempting to arrive in the UK illegally.

Both were involved in violence which broke out on a French beach in June this year when French officers were attacked by a large group of migrants attempting to leave on a small boat.

A team of UK-funded gendarmes were on patrol in Oye Plage near Calais when they came across a group of 51 migrants in the process of launching a small boat and attempted to prevent their crossing.

A number of the migrants were armed with makeshift weapons and rocks, causing injuries to the French officers before fleeing on a small boat bound for the UK.

Following rapid consultation between UK and French authorities, the two defendants were quickly identified and arrested by officers from the Home Office’s Criminal and Financial Investigations (CFI) unit as soon as they reached Dover.

Body-worn footage from the gendarmes shows the two defendants confronting French officers. British and French authorities worked closely together, at speed, to ensure the offenders were brought to justice as swiftly as possible.

Both Abdullah, from Iraq, and Khater, from Sudan, pleaded guilty to attempting to arrive in the UK without valid entry clearance at an earlier hearing. Abdullah received a sentence of 14 months’ imprisonment and Khater received 12 months’ imprisonment.

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 which threaten the border security of the UK.

Tension on French beaches is increasing due to the successful efforts of law enforcement in frustrating this organised criminal enterprise. Incidents like this highlight the complex and brave work of our French colleagues in the face of challenging conditions.

We will continue to work hand-in-hand with them to tackle the criminal gangs behind these deadly crossings, to protect our borders and save lives.