Amdani Juma Case Update, UK

From Terrence Higgins Trust:

We have been asking you to write to the Home Secretary and/or sign a petition for Amdani Juma to remain in the UK. We are delighted to report that Amdani's deportation has been stopped, at least temporarily. His case has undergone judicial review and he should be bailed out shortly. His legal team are considering the way forward.

We are certain that the efforts of all those who are campaigning on Amdani's behalf and who have written to the Home Office about his case have been central to his removal being stopped. Whilst this is fantastic news, Amdani's immigration status is not yet certain, and we would like to encourage people to continue to support the case and watch out for further developments. We will let you know if and when there is any more that can be done for Amdani.

Many thanks for all your support

Rowan Harvey
Parliamentary and Campaigns Officer
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Somali Bantus

I have an interview with an agency working with Somali Bantu refugees. I have met some that were living in Nairobi when I was in Kenya, but do not know a lot about their culture. There are well over 400 families in the area that I will be working in, and I would like to get enough info on them to feel confident during the interview. As I understand it, they are an ethnic minority in a country of mostly Oromo, Afar, and Tigre tribes.

Any info as well as personal stories of working with this group would be helpful. I feel very drawn to these people and want to be a real asset in their lives here in the US. If you know any Af Maay words/phrases that would help, although I am told they do speak some Swahili ( of which I am semi-fluent) all though most cannot even read or write and are often illiterate.

Urgent action - UK

Amdani Juma, a torture survivor, pro-democracy activist and Terrence Higgins Trust volunteer, was taken into detention by the Home Office seven days ago. Faced with imminent deportation to Burundi, a country where his activism has resulted in his appearing on wanted posters, Amdani needs your support to keep him in the UK.

Since his arrival in the UK, Amdani has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people with HIV in Nottingham. As well as providing face to face support and mentoring to THT service users, he also started the first African women's support group in the city. His considerable abilities and rapport with the local community have made his health promotion work with Africans in Nottingham invaluable. In the words of his MP, Alan Simpson, "He is an outstanding asset. Removing him from the UK would leave Nottingham (and beyond) much the poorer. There is no one, particularly within the HIV field who could replace the work he does."

We are asking all our supporters to contact the Home Secretary to ask her to recognise Amdani as a political refugee and intervene to prevent his deportation. Please take a moment to send a quick message voicing your support to There is a sample letter below. Please quote his Home Office case reference number, A1179608, in your email.

You can also sign the associated petition. Please also pass this message to your friends to help gather momentum for the campaign. We only have a matter of days to show our support and reverse the decision.

Sample letter:

Dear Mrs Smith,

I am writing on behalf of Amdani Juma, currently in detention and due to be deported, to ask that you intervene on his behalf. His Home Office case reference number is A1179608.

Mr. Juma is an asset to the UK and to health and social care in the city of Nottingham. As a volunteer case worker for Terrence Higgins Trust, he has given freely of his time, skills and energy to help people living with HIV. Amdani's hard work has led to the setting up of Nottingham's first support group for women living with HIV, and his considerable abilities and rapport with the local community have made his health promotion work with Africans in Nottingham invaluable. Mr. Juma is a key link for healthcare to a community acknowledged to be hard to reach but in great need of help.

We believe that Mr. Juma should be allowed to remain in the UK. He has more than proved his commitment to being a part of Nottingham's community, and that community would keenly feel his loss should he be deported. We ask that you intervene to allow him to stay and continue his important work.

Yours sincerely,

(Your name)

Edinburgh event next week

Amnesty International
Edinburgh St Mark's group presents:

The Asylum Process

Panel Discussion

7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Venue: Quaker Meeting House
7 Victoria Terrace
Edinburgh EH1 2JL


Robin Harper, MSP
Dr Ian Connor, Clinical Psychologist, Compass Team
Asylum Seekers and Refugees Mental Health Liaison
Michael Collins, Migrant Rights Activist
Fiona Southward, Women's and Children's Department, Legal Services Agency
Asylum Seeker/Refugee (to be confirmed)

This is a free event

cross-posted: refugeenews, scotsactivist
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Urgent - act to stop the deportation of Hicham Yezza

A student and a member of staff at the University of Nottingham were recently arrested under anti-terror laws and held for six days before being released without charge. The member of staff - Hicham Yezza - was then re-arrested for some issue to do with his visa, and is now being deported to Algeria, about a month and a half before the date that has been set for his immigration hearing. Hicham has lived in the UK for thirteen years - half of his life. He has a BA from the University of Nottingham, has been engaged in postgraduate work there (I understand he has nearly finished a PhD), and has been an active member of the student community. (You can read more about him here.)

The University has been pretty cagey about informing anyone of what exactly is going on, but it has come to light that the student downloaded some 'radical material' for legitimate research purposes - NB: he downloaded it from a US Government website, the same material is also available from Amazon, and it appears on university course reading lists. He then emailed the material to his friend, Hicham, who was working as a university administrator, and asked him to print it out for him. The university then called the police, and both men were arrested. Whilst questioning other members of the university, a policeman allegedly remarked that this would never have happened if the two people were concerned had been white. Hicham's arrest in connection with his visa issue and hurried deportation seems to be nothing more than an attempt to justify the serious abuse of power that led to his detention under the Terrorism Act. (I don't know exactly what the issue is, but I know that many international PhD students have to apply for an extension to cover the period in which they are writing up their thesis. Reports imply it is some trivial matter along these lines.)

The whole affair is, quite frankly, a complete disgrace. More information on the events at the university, and the campaign to free Hicham Yezza, can be found here.

iraq action days conference in DC apr 14-16

So I found out about this pretty late but I figured it would interest you guys:

Come to Washington DC this April to urge Congress to respond to one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time. Millions of innocent Iraqis have been uprooted by war. Many fleeing Iraqis have no legal status beyond Iraq's borders. Inside Iraq, they need food, jobs and a safe place to live. Meet other concerned citizens and learn from experts, government officials, Iraqi refugees and aid groups working directly to provide protection and assistance in the region. Join us in pressing our leaders to action.
more info at:


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Asylum system 'shameful for UK'.


The Independent Asylum Commission, led by an ex-senior judge, said the system denied sanctuary to some in need and failed to remove others who should go.

The report praised immigration officials for recent reforms to how they manage asylum applications - but it warned that a "culture of disbelief" was leading to "perverse and unjust decisions".

The commissioners said policymakers were at times using "indefensible" threats of destitution to try to force some asylum seekers to leave the UK.

Another commission member, Lord Ramsbotham, a former chief inspector of prisons, told the BBC that officials considering asylum claims often had a poor understanding of an individual's circumstances.

"We are concerned at the level of the treatment of children, the treatment of women, the treatment of those with health needs, particularly mental health needs, torture survivors."

You can also download the full report at the above link.
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Edinburgh: Queen Margaret University LGBT Society have arranged a coach to London on Saturday 22nd March for anyone wanting to join the protest in defence of Mehdi Kazemi.  Students and non-students welcome.  Details about the protest below.  For more info on the QMU campaign visit

On Saturday March 22nd at 2pm Middle East Workers' Solidarity will be staging a protest opposite Downing Street in defence of Mehdi Kazemi, a gay Iranian asylum seeker who the British government plans to send back to Iran on the grounds that if gay Iranians are "discreet about their sexuality", they will not get in trouble.

In fact, Mehdi Kazemi's boyfriend in Iran has already been executed for being gay, and the regime knows about Mehdi Kazemi and will likely kill him if he returns. We are demonstrating to demand that he should not be sent to his death in Iran, and that he should be allowed to stay in Britain if he so chooses.

Middle East Workers' Solidarity

cross-posted to scotsactivist
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Death sentence: gay Syrian teenager facing deportation
By Kurt Bayer
JOIN OUR CAMPAIGN: Take part in Scotland on Sunday's online petition below*

HIS only crime was to be gay. For that he was half-drowned, brutally beaten and then fell into a coma. He survived, escaped from jail, fled his country and eventually arrived, exhausted and bedraggled, here in Scotland. And now the Government wants to send him back.

Syrian Jojo Jako Yakob last night pleaded with the Home Office to reverse a deportation order and spare him the certain death he believes he will face if he returns to his country. "I wish to claim asylum and I wish to stay here in Scotland," he said.

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Reprieve for gay Iranian

A gay teenager from Iran remains on temporary reprieve after Home Secretary Jacqui Smith vowed to reconsider his deportation to the Islamic Republic.

Meanwhile, human rights activists have vowed to take Mehdi Kazemi's case to the EU courts, which on Friday issued a resolution asking the Netherlands and the UK to "find a common solution to ensure that he is granted asylum or protection on EU soil".

The youth arrived in England in 2005 to learn English and applied for asylum soon after learning of the execution of his same-sex partner under Iran's sodomy laws. After the refusal of his request for asylum, Kazemi fled to Holland to avoid deportation from the UK.

However, a request from British authorities to return the 19-year-old in order to complete the deportation process was upheld last week by the Dutch Supreme Court. After an outcry from gay rights campaigners, who claim that the youngster faces execution, the Home Secretary has stepped in to review the decision.


We, the undersigned, urge the British government to rescind the deportation order against Jojo Jako Yakob and grant him asylum to stay in this country. We believe it would be an act of inhumanity to force his return to Syria, where it is almost certain he would be tortured and even killed on account of his sexuality.

* It's a bit of a lazy 'petition' - it's just the standard Scotsman on-line comment-fest, with the usual bickering and drama.
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