Northern Ireland

Zimbabwean loses asylum appeal

A Zimbabwean man who claimed he was beaten and raped by men from Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party has lost a legal battle to stay in Northern Ireland.

The man, who has only been identified as MT, also claimed the same men had killed his mother.

The Court of Appeal in Belfast upheld a ruling denying the 29-year-old asylum, describing his credibility as "seriously flawed".

The judge ruled there was no error of law in the original findings.

MT was arrested by police in Belfast in 2007. At that time he had applied for a job at the South East Belfast Health and Social Services Trust stating he had worked in a mental health hospital in London from December 2006 to February 2007.

The judge said: "It was likely he was working illegally in the UK before February 2007.

MT claimed to have travelled to Belfast after flying from South Africa to Dublin on a fake South African passport.

"If the applicant was a genuine asylum seeker and his story was true he would have claimed asylum if not in South Africa then in the Republic of Ireland and certainly if not in the Republic of Ireland as soon as he came to the UK."

Following his detention, MT said he was employed at an engineering plant on the northern outskirts of the city.

He later applied for asylum but was refused on the basis that he had not established a well-founded fear of persecution or of suffering serious harm if returned from the UK.

He appealed the findings against him by attempting to demonstrate that the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal had erred in law.

In his judgment the judge said that the immigration judge had found MT's account was not credible.

"He had no supporting evidence relating to his mother, her position in the women's association and no evidence about her death or how she died.

"The judge found that had his mother been the chairperson of the women's association there would have been some media coverage regarding her death, particularly as to how it is alleged she was killed."