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Friday, 21 December, 2001, 06:12 GMT
Asylum seeker's fight backed by minister
Princesshay, Exeter
About 100 Afghan refugees live in Exeter
A Devon refugee support group is fighting on behalf of an Exeter-based Afghan asylum seeker to be allowed to stay in the city for Christmas.

Farhad Ahmed is one of about 100 Afghan refugees living in Exeter under the asylum seeker dispersal scheme.

He fled Afghanistan amid fear of persecution to Germany, where he first sought asylum.

Legal action has stopped him being deported, but he is still being held in a detention centre near London.


We have no grounds to stop it from happening, but we think it is not fair for him to be deported

Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support Council
Immigration authorities want to send him back to Germany to pursue his asylum claim there.

He was due to be deported earlier this week but is now being held in a detention centre at Heathrow Airport pending a judicial review.

The Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support Council is campaigning for him to be allowed back to Exeter, where he has a home and belongings, in time for Christmas.

A spokesman for the council said: "We have no grounds to stop it from happening, but we think it is not fair for him to be deported.

"The decision may depend on how the case was originally presented."

The council is supported by Exeter's MP, Ben Bradshaw, the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Mr Bradshaw has said he has written to the Chief Immigration Officer about the case.

See also:

19 Dec 01 | UK Politics
'Refugees could plug jobs gap'
14 Dec 01 | Scotland
Asylum seeker sought safe haven
06 Nov 01 | England
Asylum seekers seized in tunnel
29 Oct 01 | UK Politics
Asylum shake-up at a glance
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