North West Wales

Bangor Uni backs bid to stop student's deportation

Shiromini Satkunarajah Image copyright Shiromini Satkunarajah
Image caption Shiromini Satkunarajah is described as an "exceptionally able and diligent student"

Bangor University's vice chancellor has urged the Home Office to allow a deportation-threatened student to finish her studies in the UK.

Sri Lankan Shiromini Satkunarajah, 20, has been taken to a detention centre after being refused asylum.

Prof John Hughes wrote to the Home Office, after a National Union of Students (NUS) petition backing her bid to stay attracted 27,000 signatures.

The Home Office said it considers each case carefully.

Miss Satkunarajah, who was born in Sri Lanka but has lived in the UK for eight years, is due to finish her electrical engineering degree this summer.

But she was arrested last week and taken to a detention centre to await deportation on Tuesday.

The university has contacted Miss Satkunarajah to reassure her it supports her bid to stay in the UK and wants to see her complete her degree course.

NUS Wales deputy president Carmen Smith told BBC Wales: "We want the home secretary to stop the callous and inhumane deportation of Shiromini."

Image copyright David Stowell/Geograph
Image caption Miss Satkunarajah is an electrical engineering student at Bangor University

She said Miss Satkunarajah only had three months left before graduating.

"She doesn't have any family or friends in Sri Lanka. Wales is her home.

"She has three months left of her degree. It's a brutal thing to do at such a time in her educational experience," she added.

Plaid Cymru's Arfon MP Hywel Williams also raised the case in the House of Commons on Monday.

He told MPs Miss Satkunarajah had followed the immigration rules "meticulously" and described the way her case had been handled as "scandalous".

He echoed calls by the university's calls for her to be allowed to stay to complete her studies.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMP Hywel Williams says Shiromini Satkunarajah is "exceptionally able"

Mr Williams has said the UK government should use "common sense" in dealing with her case, while the acting Bishop of London, Pete Broadbent, has also spoken out on Miss Satkunarajah's behalf.

A Home Office spokeswoman said last Tuesday: "We do not routinely comment on individual cases.

"The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who genuinely need it and every case is carefully considered on its individual merits."

More on this story