Asylum seeker loses deportation fight

By Craig RobinsonA TEENAGE asylum seeker from East Anglia has lost his appeal to stay in Britain and will now be deported.Elton Ismaili, 19, from Kesgrave, was told yesterday that he would be removed to Kosovo after Home Office officials rejected his pleas to remain in Britain.

By Craig Robinson

A TEENAGE asylum seeker from East Anglia has lost his appeal to stay in Britain and will now be deported.

Elton Ismaili, 19, from Kesgrave, was told yesterday that he would be removed to Kosovo after Home Office officials rejected his pleas to remain in Britain.

It came as a bitter blow to Mr Ismaili's supporters - including his foster parents, Kevin and Karen Harris, of Bell Lane, Kesgrave, and Labour MEP Richard Howitt - who have been campaigning vigorously for him to stay.


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Mr Howitt said: “I am bitterly disappointed for Elton, Karen, Kevin and the rest of the family. My primary concern now is to ensure Elton's safety and welfare.

“Immediately after speaking with Elton's family I have contacted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Brussels to ensure that his return to Kosovo is monitored and that he is given all the support possible.

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“The number of e-mails, faxes and letters of support I have received from Elton's friends, his former school teachers, colleagues and neighbours has been phenomenal.

“It is vital that this level of community support must be maintained now to help Elton through this difficult return and to ensure that he knows that he is not alone.”

Mr Harris, 44, has previously said that he would fight for Mr Ismaili to be returned to Britain if he was deported.

He has now asked the teenager, who was being held at a detention centre at Heathrow, to make his way to Albania and plans to visit him there as soon as he can.

Mr Ismaili's case has been the subject of urgent reviews by the immigration minister and a number of planned flights had already been cancelled at the last minute due to representations.

He arrived in Britain in 2001 from Macedonia and was taken in by social services and then by Mr and Mrs Harris.

Mr Ismaili was aged 14 at the time and had already faced years of turmoil after being separated from his parents.

He fled his village in war-torn Kosovo and walked for two days to cross the Macedonian border, where he found safety at a refugee camp.

His aunt found him and took him to her home before paying $2,000 to smuggle the teenager into England.

craig.robinson@eadt.co.uk

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