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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July, 2003, 20:11 GMT 21:11 UK
You The Judge
The audience stepped into the shoes of an immigration official in this live, interactive programme as part of BBC Asylum Day. What did they think of the four real-life cases presented to them?
[Clemence] [Kadriye] [The Garzas] [Abdul]

Clemence says he was being persecuted because he was a member of the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change).

He says he and his wife were attacked and beaten by a gang of Zanu PF supporters. Clemence was driven to a darkened cellar room in an unknown location, where he says he was badly beaten with an iron bar on his feet and his head dipped in a bucket.

He says he was finally dumped in some bushes and when he got home he discovered his wife had been in hospital because her injuries were so severe. They only had enough money for one person to flee to England, so Clemence came alone.

Later, he says, his wife died from her injuries in Zimbabwe.

Clemence arrived in the UK initially as a visitor. He says he was trying to find the right lawyer and arrange to bring his wife to Britain, which was why he did not apply for asylum until six months later. He says he was also deeply affected by the trauma of his experiences in Zimbabwe.

There was no physical evidence of torture but Amnesty International has claimed beating on the soles of the feet does not cause scarring or physical signs.

His lawyers argued that there was a failure to consider the effect of trauma on Clemence's behaviour in assessing credibility.

46% of the audience who voted in You The Judge said they would grant Clemence asylum.
54% of the audience who voted in You The Judge said they would refuse Clemence asylum.

Clemence's first application for asylum was refused because he was not found to be credible. On appeal his case was dismissed. Judicial Review was refused. He is awaiting deportation to Zimbabwe.

Kadriye was one of 13 asylum seekers who began a journey to Britain in a container. They were Kurds fleeing south-eastern Turkey.

Kadriye says that her husband's political opinions, as well as her Kurdish ethnicity, led them to be persecuted by the Turkish authorities on a regular basis.

She says her husband was regularly arrested and tortured, and that they were not allowed by Turkish law to speak Kurdish, let alone have Kurdish names or any education in Kurdish. Eventually, she says, they had no choice but to flee because they feared for their lives.

They had paid $4,000 for what they were told would be a four-hour, 2,000 kilometre journey.

In Zeebrugge, Belgian smugglers put them on board a P&O Ferrymasters' freight container loaded with Italian-made office furniture, supposedly for the last two-hour leg of the journey to England.

Instead, after 56 hours, the container arrived in Wexford, Ireland. It was stored on shore for another two days before being transported by lorry to the IDA Enterprise Park on the outskirts of Wexford.

When police opened the container, eight out of the 13 asylum seekers were dead including boys aged four, nine and 12 and a 10-year-old girl. They died from suffocation and hypothermia in the container.

Kadriye survived but her two children and husband died.

Her brother Hussein, who lived in London, brought her to England from Ireland.

37% of the audience who voted in You The Judge said they would grant Kadriye asylum.
63% of the audience who voted in You The Judge said they would refuse Kadriye asylum.

The Home Office immediately granted Kadriye indefinite leave to remain on humanitarian grounds.

Dusan, of Roma descent, is married to Agata, a white Slovakian. They have three children.

They say that racism in the area near Kosice, Slovakia, where they live, means the family has suffered years of persecution, both physical and verbal, mainly from skinhead white gangs around their village.

The final straw came, they say, when thugs attacked Dusan and punched Agata, who was seven months pregnant, in the stomach.

The next day, Agata gave birth to Vanesa, two months prematurely. Vanesa subsequently developed cerebral palsy.

They say they reported the incidences to the police but the authorities did nothing. They did not move elsewhere in Slovakia because, they say, things are the same for Roma all over the country.

So the family waited until Vanesa was old enough to travel and fled to Britain, via France. Vanesa received treatment on the NHS - the family says she is unlikely to get any medical help whatsoever in Slovakia and her condition may deteriorate substantially.

25% of the audience who voted in You The Judge said they would grant the Garzas asylum.
75% of the audience who voted in You The Judge said they would refuse the Garzas asylum.

The Home Office refused them asylum.

Abdul's father was a member of the Party of Democratic People of Afghanistan which opposed the mujahideen and later Taleban governments.

Abdul says the Taleban knew that his father was working against them - they twice came to his home and arrested one of his brothers and beat some of the other family members.

On another occasion, he says, the Taleban attacked the home with grenades and confiscated all their belongings and land.

They moved around Afghanistan, from Kabul, to Jalalabad and back, to escape the attacks.

The final straw came for Abdul in 1998 when Taleban police came to their house looking for his father, but arrested him because his father was out. They told him he would be held until his father turned up.

During a two-week ordeal, he says he was kept nearly continuously awake, not fed properly and beaten. He was freed on bail to celebrate Eid with his family and decided to flee.

He borrowed $9,500 from an uncle and paid an agent to take him by car, first to Pakistan, then Iran, where he flew to Eastern Europe, got in the back of a lorry, finally entered the UK and claimed asylum at a police station in Hull.

He says that the new administration in Afghanistan is just as brutal as the Taleban towards supporters of the old socialist regime - particularly Pashtuns like himself.

28% of the audience who voted in You The Judge said they would grant Abdul asylum.
72% of the audience who voted in You The Judge said they would refuse Abdul asylum.

Abdul was initially refused asylum but after appeal was granted refugee status and indefinite leave to remain.

Asylum: You The Judge was broadcast at 20:00 BST on 23 July 2003, on BBC One. The full programme can be watched from this website by clicking the video icon on the right-hand side of this page.


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