Persecution fear for sick couple facing deportation

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Eva Achoch
Image caption,
Eva Achoch said being a disabled woman in Kenya means she would be seen as a "curse"

A couple living in Bristol say they face persecution over ill health if they are deported to Kenya.

Eva Achoch, who has muscular dystrophy (MD), claims her family would see her as a "curse" due to her condition.

She came to the UK in 2015 with her husband, for an MD conference, but ended up in hospital with pre-eclampsia as she was also pregnant at the time.

The Home Office successfully appealed against a previous decision allowing them to stay on health grounds.

Ms Achoch said she stayed in hospital, in 2015, for three weeks with pre-eclampsia but "sadly lost the baby".

She said when she arrived in the UK, she could walk but was now dependent on husband Fanuel Olala and carers, who come four times a day.

'Condemned to die'

Mr Olala, who has sickle cell anaemia, said after his wife's health deteriorated they applied for British citizenship.

After being turned down, they won a first tier tribunal on medical grounds.

This was overturned on appeal by the Home Office. This means funding for their accommodation has come to an end and they face eviction on Friday.

Ms Achoch said: "If I am sent back home right now, it will be like I've been condemned to go back to Kenya and die.

"People see me as a curse - especially my family. They normally consider everything evil that happens in the family is because of my condition."

The couple's priest, Father Richard McKay, said: "I'm absolutely incredulous that a judge could possibly find that they can return to Kenya and that they do not have a human rights case on medical grounds to stay in this country."

A Home Office spokesman said: "Where a decision has been made that a person does not require international protection, removal is only enforced when we and the courts conclude that it is safe to do so, with a safe route of return.

"Anyone who has exhausted their appeal rights and whose eligibility for support is due to end will be given 21 days' notice and information on next steps."

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