Afghan asylum seeker supported by thousands as he fights to stay in the UK
- Credit: Archant
Afghan asylum seeker Murad Khan is receiving the support of his tutors and friends as he continues to face a deportation battle.
The East Norfolk Sixth Form College student was detained by immigration officers last month and told he may have to return to Afghanistan. Having spent time at the Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre, near Lincoln, Murad is now back home and appealing his decision.
His original court date had been scheduled for next Thursday but it has now been postponed until the end of April. A Home Office Spokesperson has confirmed that his appeal has been lodged, but it is still at the same stage.
Murad's case is being helped by an online petition which will be sent to Home Secretary Theresa May. College English teacher Emma Herod set up the online petition, which so far has more than 1,620 signatures.
She said: 'I decided to set up the petition because it felt like the right thing to do. Someone needed to do it and take the bull by the horns as such. The issues around immigration, asylum seekers and refugees is something I am passionate about.
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'The response and support so far has been amazing. The main level has been local, from college students and teachers, but there has also been support through Facebook and Twitter from people around the country and across the world. There has been quite a few migrant groups and support groups who specialise in humanitarian research offering vocal support. The campaign is gathering pace and clearly having an impact.'
Murad arrived legally as an asylum seeker five years ago after his father and uncle was killed by the Taliban. He has no remaining family in his native homeland, as far as he is aware.
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Since being in the UK he has learned to speak, read and write English and staff and fellow pupils at the college have expressed concern Murad would be exposed to violence if he was deported.
Miss Herod said: 'Murad is extremely well known and one of my fellow English teachers told me the lesson after he returned from a stay in the detention centre, people wanted to give him a round of applause. This was extremely heartwarming. Several staff also ran the Norwich Half Marathon to help support his legal costs.
'The end goal is for Murad to be granted some form of stay in the UK, either a permanent residency or citizenship - he has no desire to return to Afghanistan.'
A Twitter page 'Murad Khan UK Appeal' has also been set up along with a Facebook site.
• To read more about Murad's story and his petition visit change.org/p/theresa-may-appeal-to-keep-murad-khan-in-the-uk or visit facebook.com/HelpProtectMurad