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Amaniel waiting to hear if he can stay

PUBLISHED: 07:11 15 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:01 22 October 2010

Amaniel Weldemichael.

Amaniel Weldemichael.

The Eritrean student whose fight to save himself from deportation captured the hearts of those in his community will find out this week if he has won a crucial battle in his bid to stay.

The Eritrean student whose fight to save himself from deportation captured the hearts of those in his community will find out this week if he has won a crucial battle in his bid to stay.

Amaniel Weldemichael's plight resulted in an extraordinary display of public support as a whole college community came together to help keep him in Britain.

Students at the East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston raised thousands of pounds to pay for the 17-year-old's legal fight as he gained a stay of execution on his deportation notice in March.

The Immigration Service had issued deportation papers in February, sparking demonstrations in the college, fundraising parties, and a campaign co-ordinated by Amaniel's Lowestoft foster family.

Now his case will be heard by a judicial review either tomorrow or next Monday which will decide whether the GCSE student, who fled from Eritrea's child army aged 14 after his brother was killed, can stay in Britain.

It will decide whether his human right to a loving family and education outweigh government protocol which states that he must be dealt with by his point of entry into Europe, which was Italy.

And, in a separate argument, the review will decide whether the Immigration Service has the right to deport Amaniel under Dublin Convention rules, which specify he must be removed to Italy within six months of entering the UK, as he has now been here for two years.

Yesterday Amaniel, who came to Britain not speaking a word of English, was concentrating on a GCSE chemistry exam at his Gorleston college - but foster mum Carole Hall said the whole family was on tenterhooks.

"His solicitor has told us that we will definitely hear the result either this week or the beginning of next week," she said. "None of us know what the outcome will be.

"Amaniel's very nervous at the moment, both because of the exams and this decision. But he's been going into college every day, even during their study break, and is working very hard.

"He's not finding it easy but he's determined to stick it out and the college have offered him a place next year, as long as the hearing is successful."

Tutor Sean Offord added: "The exams have been difficult but Amaniel has been handling it amazingly. He's smiling and looking confident, but one can't tell until we've got the results how it's affecting him.

"If he is able to return next year we will get him doing more GCSEs, but even that is amazing considering how little time he has been speaking English."

If Amaniel wins the judicial review it will not grant him asylum status in Britain. For that he will need to win another ruling, but it guarantees that he will not have to return to Italy.

He will also be able to stay in Lowestoft until his case has been heard - which is expected to take some time.


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