Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Last-ditch bid to save Sheffield asylum seeker

Reza Yosefi
Image caption Mr Yosefi came to the UK aged 16 from Iran

Campaigners in Sheffield are attempting to stop an asylum seeker being deported, hours before he is due to be sent to a country he has never known.

Reza Yosefi, 20, has lived in Sheffield for the past four years but is due to be removed from the UK to Afghanistan on Tuesday morning.

Mr Yosefi's family originate from Afghanistan but he was born in Iran and has never lived there.

The UK Border Agency said Mr Yosefi's case had been carefully considered.

Campaigners fear he will be killed if he is sent to the war-torn country.

Mr Yosefi grew up in Iran as the son of illegal Afghan refugees before fleeing to the UK.

'Feeling dire'

He said in Iran he was not allowed to go to school and when he tried to work he was arrested and badly beaten by police.

He moved to the UK as an asylum seeker when he was 16, a journey which took him seven months.

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

Because his parents are considered illegal immigrants in Iran they have no Iranian citizenship and Mr Yosefi has been told he must return to Afghanistan despite having no family or friends there.

Image caption People are being urged to email the Home Secretary to support Mr Yosefi

Speaking from the Harmondsworth detention centre, Mr Yosefi said: "I've made a life here, I've got friends here.

"I'm feeling dire. I'm just thinking when are they going to take me to Afghanistan. Where am I going to sleep on a night time when I'm there.

"They say I am from Afghanistan because of my family... I have never been to Afghanistan but I imagining it is a violent place."

Campaigners have urged people to email the Home Secretary to support Mr Yosefi.

Friend Cath Swinney said: "All his important relationships are here.

"Reza's got a lovely girlfriend, he's in a football team, he knows a lot of people and a lot of people care a lot about him."

Mr Yosefi is due to board a plane to Afghanistan at 0300 BST on Tuesday.

David Wood, UK Border Agency Director, said: "Both the UK Border Agency and the courts have fully considered Mr Yosefi's case and have found he is not in need of protection and must return to Afghanistan."

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