Plymouth Kurd given last minute reprieve

From today’s edition of the The Voice of Plymouth/The Herald we find out that perhaps the three Kurds who have been recently detained may be able to stay, depending on their appeals through the ECHR.  Kurdistan Commentary will be following the story.

Appeal earns Kurd reprieve
Friday, 06 March 2009

A Kurdish man detained in Plymouth has temporarily escaped being sent to Iraq after an 11th-hour legal bid succeeded.

Karwan Mahmood, aged 31, was due to fly from London on Tuesday but was given a Home Office reprieve at the last minute, his supporters in Plymouth said.

They say they expect him to be granted bail early next week and allowed to return to Plymouth, where he is in a relationship with city woman Katie Kellow.

His supporters said the failed asylum-seeker was reprieved because he is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights.  Two other Kurds, detained in Plymouth, are planning similar last-gasp appeals; otherwise Himen Abas, aged 33, will fly to Iraq on March 11, and Jizar Ahmad, aged 31, will leave on March 13.

However, a fourth Plymouth Kurd, 32-year-old Majid Ibrahim Amin, was put on a flight from Stansted to the city of Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region, on February 16.

Rizgar Ali, chairman of Plymouth’s Kurdish Community Association, said everything possible was being done to support the detainees.

He said he was fearful Mr Abas and Mr Ahmad would not be flown to the Kurdish homeland in Northern Iraq but to British- controlled Basra in the south, something denied by the UK Border Agency.

“The northern Iraqi government is not accepting people forced to be taken back,” Mr Ali said, adding that Plymouth’s 2,000-strong Kurdish community now felt ‘threatened’ after learning Mr Ahmad and Mr Mahmood had been detained after they attended a police station to ‘sign’.

“People who have to sign every week or month at a police station are scared and don’t want to go,” he said. “There’s a lot of fear in the community.”

Mr Mahmood, detained on February 12, is being held at Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre near Gatwick Airport.  “He’s in a very bad situation,” Mr Ali said.

Mr Abas and Mr Ahmad are at Campsfield House immigration removal centre, in Kidlington near Oxford.

Khasrow Mustafa, a leading member of Plymouth’s Kurdish community, said: “The solicitor is doing all the appeals, whatever he can do.  We have contacted the European Court of Human Rights and they are trying to cancel (Mr Abas’) ticket. We’re expecting the Home Office to stop it.”  He was hopeful the men would be released, he said. “Sometimes they just release people,” he said.  “I never understand immigration.”

A spokesman for the UK Border Agency stressed people with no legal right to remain in the UK were only removed ‘when we are satisfied it is safe to do so’.

“We do not target any particular nationality,” he said. “We only remove people whom the Agency and courts have found do not qualify for international protection or refugee status.”

He said each case was examined with ‘great care’ and no one was removed if they would be put at risk or had an outstanding application or appeal. The spokesman said people who faced removal ‘are always notified removal action is imminent’.

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