17 year old Afghan boy, UKBA refuse to believe his age
kidnapped twice by men in Afghan police uniforms, at clear risk if returned to Afghanistan
facing imminent removal, Popal is being denied the protection and justice he needs
- Campaign update 9 May: Popal released from detention! His legal case continues ...
Coming from a wealthy family in Afghanistan, as a boy Popal was twice targeted by kidnappers. Both times the kidnappers were wearing Afghan police uniforms, and demanded high ransoms. Popal's family sold land and used all their money to secure his release. Popal fears that if he was returned to Afghanistan, he would again be targeted and this time may be killed.
Child failed by the system
After the two kidnappings, Popal's family arranged for him to leave Afghanistan. He travelled through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece and Italy and France to get here, and arrived in the UK aged just 14. The Home Office refused to believe his age, and claimed Popal was 18 years old. Social Services assesed Popal as being 16, but he maintains this was incorrect. It now seems that Popal's age assessment was not Merton compliant but Popal never had the chance to follow this up.
Given just 8 months discretionary leave to remain in the UK, Popal did not have a solicitor to help him apply for further leave to remain (and indeed these applications are routinely refused by UKBA).
No access to justice
Popal's asylum claim and appeal have been refused but there are clear legal issues that haven't been addressed, including his age dispute.
Popal's life will be at risk if he is returned to Afghanistan: this consistent failure of the system to provide protection to those who need it most must not stand.
Popal is facing removal on a charter flight. These mass deportations to Afghanistan are happening every few weeks. Because a private airline is used and no airport information is given, no airline campaigning is possible. Further representations or an application for judicial review is not enough to stop the flight. Time is running out - please contact the Home Secretary now.
Contact the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to urge her to use her discretionary powers to cancel the removal directions, so that this young man has chance to access justice in his legal case. Remember to include Popal's Home Office reference number: P1181511
If you are sending letters or faxes, remember to sign and date the letters. If you receive any response from the Home Office, please let us know via email@example.com. It's best to write in your own words; alternatively you can download a model letter here.
Theresa May, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Office
2 Marsham Street
020 7035 4745
(00 44 20 7035 4745 if you are faxing from outside UK)