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Last Updated:  Friday, 11 April, 2003, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
'Don't deport us' say UK Iraqis
Abdul Majid al-Khoei (right) with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair
Abdul Majid al-Khoei (right) was murdered after his return to Iraq
Iraqi community leaders are calling on the government not to deport Iraqi asylum seekers now Saddam Hussein's regime has fallen.

Director of the Iraqi Community Association (ICA) Jabbar Hasan said there was serious concern about recent measures taken by Home Office against asylum seekers.

According to Mr Hasan around 250,000 Iraqis in the UK entered the country as refugees.

But he said the UK should not take the fall of Saddam as a green light to send them back.

"Iraq is not in a fit state for asylum seekers to be forcibly repatriated there.

"Nobody should be deported especially those who have arrived recently and are still traumatised," Mr Hasan said.

We have had a military big push, we now need a humanitarian big push
Noaman Muna, Al-Amal Association
Many Iraqis did intend to go home as soon as it was safe to help rebuild their country, he added.

The call for restraint in repatriations was echoed by Ahmed Khudayir, the chair of the ICA.

He said the recent murder of cleric Abdul Majid al-Khoei Iraq after he returned to Iraq was proof the country was still a risky place for political exiles.

Noaman Muna of the Iraqi Al-Amal Association said getting humanitarian aid into Iraq's bombed cities should now be the major objective.

"We have had a military big push, we now need a humanitarian big push.

"Aid agencies need to be let into Iraq. The most important thing now is to restore law and order and rebuild the infrastructure," Mr Muna said.

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