UK deports Pakistani student despite ‘risk to life’

Supporters fear Majid Ali may face death in Balochistan, where they say his family members have been killed or abducted.

The National Union of Students said the government had sent Majid 'to his death' [Andrew Perry/NUS]
The National Union of Students said the government had sent Majid 'to his death' [Andrew Perry/NUS]

Authorities in the UK have deported a Baloch student to Pakistan, despite a last-ditch attempt to prevent his removal by campaigners who said he faces death or imprisonment.

Activists said Majid Ali, who was deported late on Tuesday, applied for asylum in the UK in 2011 claiming his Balochi nationalist activities put him at risk of harm in Pakistan, where they say his brother went missing and his uncle and cousin have been shot dead.

The application for asylum was rejected by the UK Home Office, which deals with issues to do with immigration and asylum. Al Jazeera contacted the ministry for comment on Ali’s deportation, but a spokesperson said it did not “routinely comment on individual cases.”

The student at the City of Glasgow College in Scotland was detained on May 29 at the Dunvagel Detention Centre in Glasgow after a number of appeals against his deportation order failed. 

A final judicial review into Ali’s case on the day of his expulsion from the UK also failed, despite campaigning by the National Union of Students (NUS) and politicians from the Scottish National Party (SNP).

The president of NUS Scotland, Gordon Maloney told Al Jazeera the government needed to be held to account for proceeding with the deportation.

“The UK government may well have just sent a young man to his death. This shows the shocking callousness of our immigration system, and the urgent need for a complete overhaul of our asylum processes,” Maloney said.

“This country has more than enough to provide for those who need it, and it is simply unacceptable for our governent to act with such a reckless disregard for human life.”

Protests in support of Ali were held in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and a social media campaign to raise awarness about the issue began trending on Twitter in the UK.

The hashtag ‘ DontDeportMajid ‘ picked up more than 11,000 tweets, according to social media analytics site Topsy .

Ali’s local MP, Chris Stephens from the SNP, also lobbied on his behalf, authoring an early day motion calling on UK Home Secretary Theresa May to stop the deportation, which was signed by 46 MPs , mostly from the SNP.

“The UK has a responsibility as one of the world’s richest nations, to open our doors and our arms to those fleeing oppression and discrimination wherever they come from,” the motion read.

Of the 8,976 decisions made on asylum cases by the government in the first quarter of 2015, 5,744, or 64 percent , were rejections, according to data collected by the Refugee Council, which campaigns in support of asylum seekers.

The UK deported 1,429 people in the same period, of which more than 1,000 were enforced, and around 400 voluntary.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Sanjay Lango, the president of City of Glasgow College’s Student Union, said Ali’s deportation had made many of his classmates and lecturers worried about his fate.

“It has opened up a debate people didn’t know about…Majid’s classmates are highly upset by the news, as are his lecturers,” Lango said.

Follow Shafik Mandhai on Twitter: @ShafikFM

Source: Al Jazeera


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