Asylum seeker slashes his wrists
By Mark HeathAN asylum seeker who claims he faces imprisonment or death if he is deported to his homeland has slashed his wrists after being arrested by immigration officials.
By Mark Heath
AN asylum seeker who claims he faces imprisonment or death if he is deported to his homeland has slashed his wrists after being arrested by immigration officials.
Anvar Valiyev was detained by officers on Thursday night and was told he would be sent back to Uzbekistan within hours - prompting his drastic actions.
Supporters of the 25-year-old, who works for CSV Media in Ipswich, staged a protest yesterday near the detention centre in Harwich where he was being held.
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But Mr Valiyev, who was previously arrested in March, was later taken to Heathrow for medical treatment and to await deportation.
Speaking from the demonstration, John Row, of the campaign group Friends of Anvar, said they had secured assurances he would not be deported until at least Tuesday.
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“They were going to move him to Heathrow at 12.10am in the morning, but he cut his wrists. We saw him as they took him to the clinic and drove past us - he looked very ill then,” he added.
“He is not someone who you would expect a grand gesture from, so for him to say I would rather die than go back is obviously very serious.
“He would be in enormous danger if they sent him back. Uzbekistan is a country where people get put in prison for no reason. We feel it is patently unsafe, whether it's imprisonment or death, for Anvar to be sent back there.”
Mr Valiyev, who has lived in the UK since applying for asylum in 2001, recently submitted a new asylum application.
“He has done so much good work in Ipswich. The ironic thing is that he is working on a Home Office project about drug awareness for asylum seekers, refugees and people with English as a second language,” said Mr Row.
“Losing Anvar would leave an enormous hole. We are still very hopeful that we can get him back.”
Ipswich MP Chris Mole said he had lobbied immigration minister Des Browne on Mr Valiyev's behalf.
“I asked him to stop the removal process so that his new asylum application could be processed. I believe Anvar would be persecuted if he returned to Uzbekistan,” he added.
“Des Browne's office have said that they are stopping the process. There's no real reason why he should be detained.”
A spokesman for the Home Office said it did not comment on individual asylum cases.
He added: “All asylum cases are assessed on their own merits. There is an appeals process, but if that is exhausted, then it's right that the UK removes anyone who does not have a right to be here.”