A people trafficker from Sheffield plans to sue the government for his treatment in prison.
Mohamed Al-Kulefi, aged 42, of Pitsmoor Road, Pitsmoor, was sentenced to six years in 2012 over a plan to smuggle Kuwaiti stowaways into Hull.
He was moved to an open prison a year ago, but was returned to closed conditions after it was suggested he might be deported after release.
But his lawyers claim the decision to put him back behind lock and key was ‘unlawful’ as his status as a refugee meant he could not be deported.
His legal team said he would now be launching a claim for damages.
In a hearing at the Criminal Appeal Court in London, barrister Philip Rule said the UK Border Agency had now accepted that Al-Kulefi could not be removed from the UK.
He is originally from Kuwait, but is a refugee and now classed as stateless.
Mr Rule said: “It is the UK Border Agency who have caused the problem, because they failed to recognise early on that this is a person for whom deportation wasn’t an option.”
He said there was ‘no justification’ for depriving him of open prison conditions - and that moving him back to closed conditions had violated his human rights.
Mr Justice Collins said he had ‘no doubt’ Al-Kulefi has a ‘possible valid claim’ for damages.
“It is at the very least arguable that keeping him in closed conditions was not a decision that the prison service could lawfully make,” he said.
“There was clearly no power to do what they did.”