Friday 29-04-2016 - 13:53
Friday 29th April
NUS Scotland has today welcomed positive news and progress in the ongoing campaign to save Glasgow student Lord Elias Mensah Apetsi from deportation. The Home Office has withdrawn the decision to refuse Lord’s human rights claim, and to refuse to revoke his deportation order, as well as confirming that they will be reconsidering his case. It means that Lord now has the opportunity to provide the Home Office with the large amounts evidence his solicitors have been gathering in his defence, in order that they can reconsider his claim.
Prior to the Home Office’s deportation order – which was made without all the facts being presented and considered, and was not of Lord’s doing - Lord had been studying for a Master’s Degree in Counselling at the University of Strathclyde. During his time at Strathclyde, Lord has been voted ‘Student of the Year’. During all this, Lord has been caring for two young children, his son and stepson.
Since news of his deportation broke, students and politicians across political parties, at Holyrood and Westminster, have been campaigning to see the deportation halted, and allow Lord to return to his family and complete his studies. So far, a fundraising campaign has raised over £4,000 to support Lord with his legal costs.
Commenting on the progress made today, Vonnie Sandlan, President of NUS Scotland, said:
“This decision will come as a relief to all those who’ve been campaigning to stop Lord’s deportation. But it’s by no means the end of the long battle to save Lord. The Home Office withdrawing their decision to not even consider revoking Lord’s imminent deportation order means Lord now has an opportunity now to continue his fight against deportation, with a real possibility that could be done from within the UK. However, the huge financial and legal barriers mean we’re still a long way from that.
“While this is a positive step in our campaign to see Lord’s deportation stopped, and his chance to return to his family, friends and studies, it’s also marks the start of the next step in the legal battle to reverse the injustice he’s faced. Lord’s detention was through no fault of his own, but instead due to his case not being considered in full by the Home Office. Since then, his physical and mental health has taken a really big hit, and he’s been let down in many ways by a system that treats people in his circumstances as nothing more than an arbitrary target to be hit.
“Thanks to generous support of those who have rallied to his defence so far, we’ve managed to raise thousands of pounds to take up Lord’s case, and ensure he has funding for his legal costs. His representatives now, Bindmans LLP, are working hard on his case. But we still have more to do, and we’ll be continuing to fundraise to ensure that Lord has the support to pay the extortionate fees attached to his campaign. We’ve already had some really important moments in the campaign to save Lord, not least stopping his deportation at the last minute, last month. Now our focus is on ensuring that his detention is overturned, and seeing him brought back to his home, his family and his studies in Glasgow, where he belongs.”