An Egyptian mother and her two teenage children desperately need protection – detained yesterday, the family are once again under threat of removal.
“Voluntary leave was offered along with £500 and if voluntary leave is not taken then the government said they would forcibly send us back home. Even if they offer a million pounds for voluntary leave,
what use would it be if the result is death?”
-the eldest daughter of Mrs. Saleh
Mrs. Saleh, an Egyptian national, applied for asylum in the UK after escaping an abusive and cruel husband whose acts endangered her and her children’s lives for over 15 years to the extent of death and rape. The Egyptian authorities ignored this domestic abuse as her husband has close links with police, judges and other officials. The entire family is under serious threat of honour-based violence and possibly even death if deported back to Egypt. Simply setting foot in Egypt again leads the family to fear for their lives seeing as they could not ask for protection from the authorities, knowing that they have close ties with her husband. The family believes if they are removed to Egypt they would be forced into hiding.
Upon arrival to the UK, out of extreme concern for her youngest daughter who was still in Egypt, Mrs. Saleh told the authorities that she was from Iraq. Fearing the Egyptian government would be contacted once they discovered Mrs. Saleh had sought asylum, she chose to wait until after her 13 year old little girl safely made it to the UK before correcting the inaccurate information she had previously provided to the UKBA. Mrs. Saleh did not know that her doing this would later be used against her. From the UKBA’s cold perspective, Mrs. Saleh’s credibility had been critically jeopardised — subsequently used as justification for her and her children’s asylum refusal.
The family submitted many pieces of evidence to back up their case, however the previous legal representatives had not translated them through a certified translator, so they were disregarded by the UKBA. These documents were withheld when the current solicitor used the data protection act to ask for a copy of all the paperwork (SAR) that they hold on file for Mrs Saleh’s case. The UKBA in fact only sent part of the requested SAR, and to date have not sent the rest.
Risk of Return
After five years living and growing up in Cardiff, the family have integrated into the local community. Mrs. Saleh is an active member of the Women Seeking Sanctuary Advocacy Group (WSSAG) self-help group and her two teenage children, risk being ripped from the lives they have established here, the connections they have made, and the very place that has provided the environment necessary for them to learn, grow, and develop in peace. Mrs Saleh’s son had just began a course in electronic engineering, this September. In the words of Lucy Jade, supporter and WSSAG member, “This family belong to Cardiff and deserve our protection. To return them to Egypt now would not only traumatically disrupt a crucial period of development in a child’s life, it could risk ending their lives altogether. “
The family were taken forcibly from their home yesterday (18th October) in the morning at around 7am. They were taken to the airport immediately with the intention of being removed on a Egyptair flight at 3pm. A ‘technical error’ prevented them from being put on to the flight, so the family were taken to Cedars detention centre in Crawley.
Mrs. Saleh said, “When I first arrived here, [in the UK] I felt human again, that me and my children deserve to live a life with no fears and with freedom, but now, after they have been trying to remove me forcibly, I remember life in Egypt and how we would be treated as slaves and the danger that would be waiting for us. I have had a few nervous breakdowns, not being able to eat or sleep. I look at my children and my eyes are immediately full of tears”
To learn more about the family’s situation, as it happens, please check out the facebook page
Members of staff from the high street store – Lush – in Swansea have previously taken Mrs Saleh’s campaign to the streets collecting signatures on their behalf.
A petition has been started and is still gathering signatures here. Please can sign it and circulate it to show your support.
We are asking if you could contact the Home Secretary and call on them to delay the removal until all aspects of the case are lawfully considered. You can use this model letter as a template but please write using your own words if possible. Also please include Mrs Saleh’s Home Office reference number in your letter.
To email the Home Secretary, please use the following addresses:
Rt. Hon Theresa May, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Office,
2 Marsham St
Fax: 0207 035 4745
You can also contact the Minister for Immigration to ask him to defer removal until after the the case has gone to court in November.
Immigration Minister – Mark Harper MP