Lillington rallies around to help Asad as he faces deportation to Afghanistan

A teenager who has lived in Leamington since aged 13 fears he will be killed by the Taliban if he is deported back to Afghanistan.
An appeal has been launched by Leamington locals, to help keep a Leamington resident, from being forced to return to Afghanistan.  Pictured: Asad. NNL-150325-121428009An appeal has been launched by Leamington locals, to help keep a Leamington resident, from being forced to return to Afghanistan.  Pictured: Asad. NNL-150325-121428009
An appeal has been launched by Leamington locals, to help keep a Leamington resident, from being forced to return to Afghanistan. Pictured: Asad. NNL-150325-121428009

Asad Saghzai, now 19, said he has no family or friends left in the war-torn country and has been left worried sick at the fate that may await him.

He claims when he was aged three his police commander father was murdered and his older brother was forced to flee the country after his car was shot at.

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Asad, who lives in Lillington, said: “The Taliban would come to our house and say ‘You are not true Muslims. Why don’t you fight for us? You do not love Aghanistan because you do not join us.’

“If I go back the Taliban will kill me because my father was a policeman in Helmand.

“Please, I’m begging people to help me – the Taliban will kill me.

“The Home Office say Afghanistan is safe now and I have to go back, but I fear for my life.

“It’s not safe for rich people or poor people.”

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Fearing for Asad’s life, his mother scraped the money together to pay people-traffickers to get him to the UK – even though she was a widow and would have no family to support her.

And Asad never saw her again – he said she died when he was 15.

Recalling the painful memory, he said: “I was 12 when I last saw my mother. But I had to deal with it when she died.

“My mother did not want me to go but she knew I would have a safer life out of Afghanistan.”

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Asad said he remembers travelling across at least six countries to reach the UK.

He was stowed aboard a lorry in France and only got off when it arrived at the M40 services near Warwick, where he was taken into social services care and later looked after by foster parents.

He could not speak English but his aptitude and work ethic saw him gain five GCSEs at Campion School, where he played rugby and football for its teams and was a volunteer leader at the school, teaching sport to younger children.

Asad has also played for Leamington Cricket Club.

He gained a driving licence, has worked in a cafe-bar and works in a shop, both in Leamington town centre.

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Asad went on to study art and design at Warwickshire College and was on a business studies course when the Home Office told him he faced deportation.

“I had to leave because I could not concentrate on my studies because of the worry of deportation. It has been going on for months.

“If I win my appeal I will go back on the course. I would like to go to university, gain a business degree and set up my own business.

“I want to gain qualifications and work and pay this country back. My dream is to contribute to this country, not take from it.

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“I have no family or friends in Afghanistan. I have been raised with English people, this is my country now.”

His appeal against the Home Office deportation order was heard before an independent tribunal on Wednesday and it is understood a decision will be revealed in 10 to 14 days.

Asad’s battle has gained cross-party support in Warwick and Leamington and an online campaign has also been set up to help him, which has drew attention from as far afield as Australia.

Veteran Green Party campaigner Janet Alty is backing Asad’s fight and was instrumental in getting his cause on an on-line petition on Facebook and has been emailing people calling on them to support his fight.

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She said: “He is scared for his life. It’s very clear that if he goes back to Afghanistan he will be killed.

“I understand from what Asad is saying is that he is not eating or sleeping properly because of all the worry.

“He is a polite, well-mannered young man who is eager to gain qualifications and work.

“It appears that the Government has a policy of allowing assylum-seeking children to stay in the country until they are 18, and then tosses them out.”

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She said although it was not part of an official Amnesty International campaign to help Asad, she knew that many members in the Mid-Warwickshire branch were backing the teenager’s cause.

Backing has also come from one of Asad’s former teachers at Campion School, who said he was astounded to hear that the teenager may be forced back to an uncertain future in Afghanistan.

Chris Philpott said: “I found Asad to be a very conscientious student who showed great gratitude to all who taught him.

“He exuded responsibility readily and showed great respect for adults who were trying to help him move on with his life after so much trauma.” 
Now working at Southam College, he added: “To me it is a matter of principle. If we fought a war in Afghanistan to better the life of peoples there, then why should we make Asad’s life worse by deporting him?”

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While Lynnette Kelly, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Warwick and Leamington, said she had met Asad a couple of times to hear of his plight and has written to the Home Office about it.

She added: “Britain has a proud history of offering asylum to those fleeing persecution, in line with our obligations under the United Nations treaty.

“I sincerely hope that justice will prevail in this case and that Asad will be allowed to remain here and carry on contributing to society.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection and each claim is carefully considered on its individual merits.

“This case is subject to an ongoing appeal and so it would be inappropriate to comment further.”