Deportation of Strathclyde student father delayed following protests
The planned deportation of Lord Apesti has been postponed following protests in Edinburgh and London and interventions by the Scottish Government, and a number of MPs and MSPs.
The news was announced on social media by friends and supporters of Apesti late on Thursday evening when he had been due to put on a flight. Whilst the development has only delayed his deportation it has raised the hopes of campaigners that with further pressure the plans for his deportation could ultimately be scrapped.
With your help, Lord isn't going tonight; big fight ahead but beat imminent deportion, secured expert legal help, & time to fight! #SaveLord
— Gary Paterson (@MrGaryPaterson) March 22, 2016
Apesti is facing deportation to Ghana following a bureaucratic cock-up in the processing of an application form. Lord has been seeking asylum in the UK as a refugee for almost 10 years, with his life firmly established in Glasgow where he cares for two young children, his son and stepson.
According to NUS Scotland and the University of Strathclyde Students’ Association Lord is studying towards a Masters Degree in Counselling at the University of Strathclyde where he has been active in numerous societies, and last year voted ‘Student of the Year’. He was recently elected NUS Scotland’s Officer for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
Supporters of Apesti have raised a number of concerns over his treatment in the detention centre at Gatwick Airport including accusations that staff had been withholding crucial medication.
Lord isn't on flight, bunked up for the night, and finally got some medication. Get some sleep tonight and it continues tomorrow #saveLord
— Raj Brighton (@rajbrighton) March 22, 2016
NUS Scotland President Vonnie Sandlan announced the news on Facebook, stating “Friends, with your help we pulled together an unprecedented campaign in just 48 hours to stop Lord Elias Mensah Apetsi being removed from his community and the country he has grown to call home.”
“Your help, your voices, your work has paid off. Lord isn’t going tonight. Let me be clear: we still have a big fight ahead but he has secured expert legal help, & it’s now time to fight!”
“Well done, and thank you from the bottom of my heart, to every single person who tweeted, facebooked, emailed, phoned, faxed and took to the streets for our friend. Let’s keep it up!”
Apesti’s is not the only high profile deportation this week of a Glasgow resident, with LGBT mother Beverley Vaanda Kandjiii and her 14 year old son due to be deported to Namibia on Thursday. A campaign in her defence has been launched by The Unity Centre, including a petition with in excess of 1500 signatures and a phone blockade of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
These cases have come to prominence in the same week that an immigration tribunal found that the Home Office has used “hearsay” and flimsy evidence to justify the deportation of thousands of students.
The damning verdict may allow for thousands of deported students to return to the UK and claim compensation. Hope is growing that an increasingly well organised refugee and migrant support network is making ground against the UK Government’s barbaric policies.