Rev. Lord Roberts of Llandudno has kindly permitted Detention Forum to publish another press release from his office. Please read the statement from his office below.
THE LIFE of Nigerian asylum seeker Isa Muazu is in Home Secretary Theresa May’s hands, Liberal Democrat peer Rev. Lord Roberts of Llandudno has warned.
He said any suggestion that Mr Muazu – who is recovering in detention following last Friday’s “botched” removal attempt – be deported to Nigeria was “heartless and totally unworthy of the UK’s reputation as a civilised nation”.
Mr Muazu, who was in “gravely-ill” condition last week following a hunger-strike, is back in the UK following a bungled attempt to deport him by the UK Government, which saw the private jet chartered to carry him to Nigeria rejected by the authorities there.
He fears being targeted by militant Islamist group Boko Haram if deported to his homeland.
On Wednesday, Lord Roberts used a topical oral question in the Lords to ask the Government to clarify its policy in relation to the detention of immigration detainees who are seriously ill and refuse food and fluids.
But he was told by Conservative Minister, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, that “a refusal to eat or drink will not automatically mean that a person should be released from immigration detention”.
Lord Roberts said today: “The Government’s immigration policies are shambolic and I hope to tackle them head on during the Immigration Bill.
“Isa has suffered enough. He is living proof that – contrary to Lord Taylor’s assurances – the welfare of detainees is clearly not the Government’s highest priority.”
“The suggestion that Isa – who was so ill that he needed to be stretchered off his 20 hour flight – will be deported to Nigeria is heartless and a sad sign of the times.”
Lord Roberts called for the Government’s policies on detention and immigration to be urgently reformed.
“We are a hospitable, not a hostile nation,” he said. “Have we forgotten that asylum seekers – and so-called ‘failed’ asylum seekers – are human beings that deserve respect?”
Yesterday morning, Mr Muazu’s lawyers were granted a stay of removal pending the outcome of an oral judicial review hearing on 9 December.
Commenting, Lord Roberts said today: “To even consider putting Isa through such tribulations again – for something that is not his fault – would be unforgivable. Though I am pleased to learn that the Theresa May has been restrained from removing Isa until the outcome of his hearing, ultimately, his life is in her hands.”
Notes to editors:
Isa Muazu, a Nigerian man who is said to be “near death” following a hunger strike, is back in the UK after the Home Office flight deporting him had to turn around “for operational reasons which were not connected to his health or conduct”. Lawyers for Mr Muazu say that since returning to the UK, he has been returned to the medical wing at Harmondsworth IRC.
Lord Roberts of Llandudno is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords. He was educated at John Bright Grammar School in Llandudno, the University College of North Wales and Handsworth Methodist College, Birmingham. In 1957 he became a Methodist minister and was Superintendent Methodist Minister at Llandudno for 20 years. He is currently Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Migration and President of Liberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary.