Wales

Petition to stop deportation of Otis Bolamu to DR Congo

Otis Bolamu Image copyright HBTSR
Image caption Otis Bolamu came to the UK after friends told him his life was in "severe danger" in the DR Congo

A petition to stop a man being deported back to the Democratic Republic of Congo on Christmas Day has been signed by more than 3,000 people.

Otis Bolamu worked for the DR Congo government before seeking asylum in Swansea, the petition said.

It added friends told him he was suspected of spying for the opposition and was in "severe danger".

The Home Office said all asylum claims were "carefully considered on their individual merits".

The petition, by Hay, Brecon & Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees, said Mr Bolamu was detained on 19 December and called on the home secretary to review his case.

Spokeswoman Maria Duggan said his solicitor was on holiday and "we don't have the status of his appeal or why he was refused asylum".

Hay Festival director Peter Florence said Mr Bolamu volunteered at his event.

"To discover he was being deported before his appeal had been heard seems to me bizarre and terrible," he said.

"Given he's a member of the Christian community in Swansea, to do so at this time of year seems a hideous travesty of all the goodwill and compassion we as a nation normally show at this time."

A protest against his detention was held in Swansea on Friday.

Alice Greenlees, from organisers Stand up to Racism Wales, said his friends were "extremely concerned for his welfare".

"Our understanding is that he will be forcibly removed on Christmas Day... I understand that he is not at all well, not eating and not sleeping, and depressed."

She said he was due to be visited by a doctor and Home Office case worker on Christmas Eve.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection.

"All asylum claims lodged in the UK are carefully considered on their individual merits against a background of relevant case law and up to date country information."

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