Page last updated at 20:28 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 21:28 UK

Asylum woman's deportation halted

Yarlswood detention centre
Neil McEvoy visited Kemi Ayinde at Yarlswood detention centre

The deportation of a pregnant woman from Nigeria along with her partner and 18-month-old daughter has been halted, supporters have said.

The Home Office had booked Kemi Ayinde, 24, on a Tuesday flight from Gatwick, but her ticket was cancelled.

She was living in Cardiff when she lost her asylum claim.

The UK Border Agency said the government would be "robust" about removing people if their claim for asylum proved unfounded.

Cardiff council has written to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith urging her to rethink the family's removal.

Ms Ayinde has said she was brought to the UK in 2001 and claimed she was made to work as a prostitute in London to pay her traffickers, but said she escaped four years ago.

Kemi and her family are feeling very depressed and it is disgusting that a woman who is pregnant and ill is being deported.
Cardiff council deputy leader Neil McEvoy

She met her partner Taiwo Salami in 2005 and they moved to Bristol. When their asylum claims were rejected the Home Office moved the couple and their daughter, Yasmin, to Cardiff in September 2007.

Mr Salami is a volunteer at a cancer care charity and their daughter attends a playgroup.

The family's case has been taken up by anti-deportation pressure group No Borders South Wales, which claims the backing of MP Kevin Brennan and AM Leanne Wood.

City council deputy leader Neil McEvoy said the family had "become an important part of the community" in Cardiff.

He visited the family on Monday at Yarlswood deportation centre where they are being held.

'Very depressed'

He said Ms Ayinde was experiencing spinal problems which left her unable to stand up on her own or to stand straight, while Yasmin had an "uncomfortable" skin complaint.

He added: "Kemi's solicitor is hopeful that he will be able to apply for judicial review as the family were not given the right to appeal against the decision to deport them.

"Kemi and her family are feeling very depressed and it is disgusting that a woman who is pregnant and ill is being deported.

"We believe that Kemi's health in particular is at high risk if she is forcibly removed."

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) in Wales has already said it would "never remove anyone who had been diagnosed as medically unfit to travel" or who faces a real risk of persecution or serious harm on return to their home country.

It has also said the UKBA provided detainees in detention centres with access to the same range and quality of public services provided by the NHS.

A spokesman for No Borders South Wales said on Tuesday evening Ms Ayinde was still in Yarlswood but they were hopeful the family would be released within the next week.


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