The Azerbaijani artist and gay asylum seeker Babi Badalov has been detained and has been given deportation directions for this coming Saturday.
Campaigners are urgently seeking the intervention of his local MP, which they believe will stop the deportation.
Babi's campaign has already gained the support of writer and playwright Patrick Jones, Leane Wood AM, Bethan Jenkins AM, Chris Bryant MP, Cardiff Council Leader Rodney Berman and Deputy Leader Neil McEvoy.
A demonstration is also being urgently organised. A campaign organiser wrote to me that, "I've never seen him, or anyone for that matter, looking so scared".
When he was informed that he was going to be detained and deported Babi responded by saying “I feel sick”
To which the UK Border agent told him “well you make us sick, you're going back where you belong.”
As a result of beatings and bullying over the years Babi has only eight teeth remaining and suffers from a number of mental health problems.
Since arriving in Cardiff in December 2006, Babi has engaged fully with various parts of the local community and has made many friends in his new home. He is still producing poetry, is writing a book about his art/gay life experiences and is also working on a film addressing the rise of Muslim fundamentalism. This latter work, as well as many other aspects of his art, would of course be impossible in Azerbaijan.
For the first time in his life, Babi felt happy and safe in Cardiff. He felt able to openly express himself artistically, politically and with regard to his sexuality, without associated feelings of fear, shame and imminent repression.
Babi is under open threat of death by 'honour killing' but Jacqui Smith believes he can be 'discreet'.
What you can do to help Babi stay
Use this model campaign letter to copy/amend or write your own letter to the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, asking her to allow Babi to stay safe in Cardiff.
Hand-written letters can be more effective, if you have the time. Remember to quote the Home Office ref. number: B1234623
Rt Hon Jacqui Smith MP
Secretary of State for the Home Department
3rd Floor Peel Buildings
2 Marsham Street
- Fax: 020 8760 3132 (00 44 20 8760 3132 if you are faxing from outside UK)
- Sign the online petition here: http://www.petitiononline.com/badalov/petition.html
- Collect signatures using this Babi campaign petition
- Distribute information about the campaign using the Babi campaign flyer
Please send any copies of letters/faxes to:
Friends of Babi Badalov
c/o Refugee Voice Wales
389 Newport Road