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Last Updated: Monday, 12 June 2006, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
Deportee freedom call escalates
Sakchai Makao
Sakchai Makao was jailed in 2004 for starting fires
Efforts are increasing to free a young Thai man taken from Shetland for deportation amid growing fears for his state of mind.

A notice of deportation has been served on Sakchai Makao, 23, after an immigration raid on the island where he has lived since he was 10.

His detention is believed to be part of Home Office efforts to trace foreign nationals who have a criminal record.

Sister Uthai has visited him and said: "He shakes when I give him a cuddle."

The sports centre worker and talented athlete was jailed for 15 months in 2004 for fire-raising.

Mr Makao was taken to Durham Prison after being arrested at his Lerwick home last Tuesday.

It's an important week and the wheels of justice must get going
David Gardner
Campaigning friend

A major campaign has been launched in Shetland to fight the deportation.

A public rally will be held in Lerwick on Tuesday night and organisers hope to attract hundreds of people.

Mr Makao's lawyer will appeal the deportation notice and hopes to secure his release from prison.

His sister told BBC Scotland after visiting Mr Makao in prison: "We are scared, it does not matter how many people reassure you.

"When you go in and see him I know he's scared, he's worried - he shakes when I give him a cuddle.

'State of mind'

"That's a sign to me to say 'get me out of here'. I am worried about his state of mind."

Scottish Lib Dem Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael is concerned about the handling of the case. He is due to meet Immigration Minister Liam Byrne on Monday night.

One of Mr Makao's campaigning friends David Gardner said: "It's an important week and the wheels of justice must get going.

Lerwick
Mr Makao was taken from his Lerwick home to prison in Durham

"We are setting up a bank account for an appeal fund, there will be an application for bail and we have Tuesday's rally."

The Home Office said it could not comment on individual cases, but said foreign nationals had to obey the law.

Mr Makao was sentenced to 15 months in prison in January 2004 for fire-raising.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard a mobile building and car were destroyed by fire when he was drunk in "two moments of madness" in 2002.

Mr Makao has won athletics medals in Shetland, taking part in sports such as the long jump and triple jump.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch the calls for Sakchai Makao's release



SEE ALSO:
Deportation notice served on man
09 Jun 06 |  North East/N Isles
Sister condemns deportation bid
08 Jun 06 |  North East/N Isles
Shetland deportation plan outcry
07 Jun 06 |  North East/N Isles
Police tracking foreign criminals
28 May 06 |  Scotland


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