Asylum seeker’s eleventh hour reprieve

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Thursday 17 March 2011

Protesters make a final plea for Reza Yosefi
A SHEFFIELD asylum seeker has won an eleventh-hour reprieve from being deported to a country with which he claims he has no links.

Reza Yosefi was due to be deported to Afghanistan yesterday morning, but a high court judge on Tuesday afternoon granted a last minute injunction, preventing his removal with only a few hours to spare.

As the case was being heard in Leeds, a group of around 30 demonstrators gathered outside Sheffield Town Hall holding placards and banners to show their support for Mr Yosefi, aged 20, who fled Iran five years ago.

Reza Yosefi
Mr Yosefi’s supporters maintain that although his parents were born in Afghanistan, Mr Yosefi has no links to the country as he was born in Iran where his parents had fled illegally before he was was born.

He arrived in Sheffield when he was 16. As a minor he was looked after by social services in Sheffield but once he turned 18 he was refused permission to remain indefinitely.

While Mr Yosefi’s removal has been cancelled, he hasn’t been granted indefinite leave to remain.

A statement from his supporters said:

“He’s not safe yet. They’re just looking at his case again ‘properly’ because the judge said that they hadn’t. We still need to persuade the UK Border Agency and the Home Office to let him stay. They could still say no.”

Marishka van Steenburgen, 25, a campaigner for Mr Yosefi’s cause, added: “There is still hope. He has a strong case.

“He has a private life here, friends, relationships. He is involved in community groups – his life is here. He has no friends, no contacts, no life there.

“He is of an ethnic minority who are often persecuted in Afghanistan.”


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