Thursday, 18 September 2008

No one is Illegal

By Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for South Wales Central

I attended a demonstration yesterday outside the UK Border Agency Offices on Newport Road in Cardiff. It was called in response to the detention and threat of imminent deportation of Babakhan (Babi) Badalov to Azerbaijan. Babi is a radical artist who has spoken out against his government. He has been persecuted for this, and because he is gay. He faces a threat of honour killing from his own family because this homosexuality is considered unacceptable in Azerbaijan.

The UK has obligations under international law to protect people who are fleeing persecution. Babi has made many friends in Cardiff and his mental state is fragile. He and his friends are genuinely petrified that he will be killed if he is returned.

A fresh asylum claim is pending after his solicitor uncovered new evidence relating to his violent history and mental state. We are hoping to be able to stop his deportation so that this new evidence can be put.

Do the UK Border Agency Officers remember Ama Sumani (the Ghanaian woman with cancer who died after being deported) ? Do they care?


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