Don’t play politics with young lives

Submitted by Janine on 1 April, 2005 - 6:51

From Kent Campaign to Defend Asylum Seekers

The Kent Campaign to Defend Asylum seekers is organising a vigil on Sunday 3 April to highlight the plight of young refugees and their families who have disappeared following detention and deportation from the UK.

Jon Flaig, campaign chair, said: “A general election is likely to be announced in the next week. We are calling on all candidates to reject playing politics with people’s lives by stirring up racism on the issue of asylum. By all means let us have a debate on the issue, but we must stop the dash to the bottom of the barrel we have seen.

“Young refugees in Kent are desperately worried about being deported back to dangerous war racked countries, having come to the UK often as unaccompanied children. They want to stay here and contribute to the country that helped them”.

Kent CDAS recently organised the “Coming of Age” conference on the issue of young refugees.
The case of Ashegolla will be highlighted at the vigil on 3 April.

Ashegolla Ahmadi is a 19-year-old Afghani who came to the UK as an unaccompanied child fleeing the Taliban.

They had detained and tortured him in Kabul. He has no family left in Kabul. He lived in Kent and was supported by the “Moving Forward” young people’s organisation.

Following Ashegolla’s claim for asylum being turned down, he moved away from Kent, to Manchester where his sister lives, and then Ireland where he wanted to claim asylum.

Ashegolla has a history of mental health problems relating to torture and post traumatic stress which have never been properly assessed and treated. He had a desperate fear of being deported to Afghanistan.

Ashegolla was picked up at the Northern Ireland border and detained. Despite preliminary medical assessment verifying torture, and saying that Ashegolla was exhibiting “features of post traumatic stress syndrome”, the Home Office forcibly removed Ashegolla.

Ashegolla called his relatives from Dubai to say he had sustained injuries to his head, back, and hands after three UK immigration officers dragged him on to the plane, beat and gagged him.

Kent CDAS has contacted Ashegolla in the refugee camp where he is sheltering and have spoken to a doctor who took photos of his injuries and emailed them to the UK.

More details: phone 01227 266858 or 07789 961744.

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