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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
MP urges rethink on asylum case
Masih and Christine Raymond
Masih and Christine Raymond are awaiting a final decision
Two failed asylum seekers who won a reprieve when they sought refuge in a church have taken their case to Glasgow MP Mohammed Sarwar.

Masih Raymond, 49, and his wife Christine, 45, faced deportation to Pakistan on Wednesday but took sanctuary in St Patrick's, Anderston.

The couple are Catholics and said they would face persecution. This is denied by the Pakistan Consulate in Glasgow.

Mr Sarwar said he would ask the Home Office to reconsider its decision.

He said: "I can understand it is a difficult time for the Raymond family.

"I will make strong recommendations to the home secretary to reconsider this case on compassionate grounds."

Mr Sarwar said he wanted the deportation order suspended to allow a detailed examination of the Home Office's decision.

The couple were accompanied by Father Gerry Nugent, who offered them shelter.

'Dreadful decision'

He said he was hoping for a final and definite decision.

Fr Nugent said: "They are not out of the woods yet and are awaiting better word about their future.

"They are afraid things might happen to them that happened in the past."

Mohammed Sarwar
Mohammed Sarwar said he understood the couple's plight
A spokesman for the Home Office said each case was examined with great care before removal.

He said no-one would be removed if they would be at risk on their return home.

The Raymond family have lived in Glasgow for 18 months.

They fled Pakistan after Masih claimed he was detained and beaten. They have been refused asylum.

The couple had been told to report to Glasgow Airport at 1945 BST on Wednesday for a flight to Lahore.

But they were granted a reprieve.

Mrs Raymond said the couple would not return to Pakistan.

Archbishop Mario Conti has written to the home secretary pleading for the deportation to be halted.

He said he wanted the "dreadful decision" overturned.

Mr Sarwar explains why he is backing the couple

Short reprieve for asylum seekers
21 Sep 06 |  Glasgow and West

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