Britain's interior ministry was left red-faced last week when it emerged that officials had chartered a jumbo jet to deport a single 27-year-old Sudanese man to France.
French anti-racism group MRAP, which was called on to meet the flight in Rennes to help with asylum procedures, said it had been expecting a crowd.
“To our great surprise we saw a single Sudanese migrant emerge from the jumbo jet,” MRAP, which went to court Wednesday in Rennes to seek his release, said.
Britain's Channel 4 broadcaster reported that the man was deported under a European agreement that asylum applications must be processed in the country where a migrant first arrives.
It quoted the Home Office, Britain's interior ministry, as saying more people had been due to be deported, but were allowed to stay after last minute legal challenges.
MRAP said the man, whom it identified only by his first name Ismail, had survived “Libyan jails, crossing the Mediterranean, living on Parisian sidewalks, the 'Jungle' (migrant camp) of Calais as well as crossing the Channel.”
He had previously been ordered to leave France, which is when he made the voyage illegally to Britain.
MRAP said he was currently under house arrest.