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Last Updated: Monday, 4 February 2008, 20:03 GMT
Archbishop on visa 'humiliation'
Ama Sumani
Ama Sumani was deported from the University of Wales Hospital
The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken of his shock and sorrow at the way a Ghanaian woman with terminal cancer has been treated.

Ama Sumani, 39, was sent back to her native country from a Cardiff hospital last month after her visa expired.

Rowan Williams criticised the way cases like hers were handled.

He said "humiliating" the vulnerable, and "particularly people who are very likely near the end of their life, is a very very bad sign to give".

Dr Williams said there were "ways of administering the law".

Ms Sumani needs hospital treatment to prolong her life, but her friends say she is not getting what she needs in Ghana.

Although she has some money to pay for treatment in Africa, the drug she needs, thalidomide, is not available there.

Her supporters in the UK, who have so far raised 25,000 in donations, say they fear her life will be cut short unless she can return to the UK.

Janet Simmons
She is in such agony, she is swollen, she can't breathe, she has infection
Janet Symmons, pictured, on her friend

Immigration officials removed Ms Sumani from the University of Wales Hospital in January.

She had been undergoing dialysis after being diagnosed with malignant myeloma which damaged her kidneys and was also receiving other drugs.

On her return to Ghana there were concerns she would not be able to afford to pay the costs of getting dialysis and an anonymous donor from the UK stepped in the pay for three months of treatment.

Since her removal, her supporters in Wales have been campaigning to allow the mother-of-two to return to the UK to continue her treatment.

Medical records

But there are fears that Ms Sumani's health is deteriorating rapidly because they say essential drugs are not available in Ghana.

Janet Symmons, a Cardiff-based supporter, said: "The Home Office didn't take her medical records with her. All they had was a chart, and the doctors in Ghana are having to start again."

She said Mrs Sumani also needed drugs which were not available to her.

"She's really having a tough time," said Mrs Symmons.

"She is in such agony, she is swollen, she can't breathe, she has infection. She is in a really bad way.

"I don't understand why they couldn't keep her here."

She said a fundraising campaign was underway to help pay for Mrs Sumani's treatment and they hoped to appeal for her return to the UK.

"Ama is feeling terrible and all she can say is that her life is in the hands of God," she added.

Mrs Sumani first moved to the UK five years ago to become a student, but began working as a cleaner, contravening her visa regulations.

Her case prompted widespread controversy in the UK with the Lancet medical journal calling the decision to send her home "atrocious barbarism".



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Supporters in the UK have raised 25,000



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