British MP’s plea over Zimbabwean-British Army veteran facing deportation

COVENTRY South MP Zarah Sultana is calling on the Military of Defence to prevent the deportation of a British Army veteran from Zimbabwe who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Joram Nechironga arrived in Britain in 2001 where he joined the army and undertook his tours in the two war zones.

His experiences saw him suffer PTSD which went untreated and led to alcohol addiction. It culminated with him being sentenced to two years in prison for assaulting a family member and drink-driving.

After serving his time, the dad-of-two, who lived in Hillfields, had started rebuilding his life.

Because of his conviction, which is now four years ago, Joram was served with a deportation notice and on February 17 was detained by the Home Office.

He was set to be deported to Zimbabwe on March 2 but – after his legal team and Ms Sultana urgently raised the case with the Home Office – his deportation was deferred.

He has since been released from detention but is subject to electronic monitoring and bail conditions.

Before his detention he had bought himself tools, boots and clothing and was working in the construction sector but, because of his bail conditions, he has now lost that opportunity to work and, consequently, the chance to rebuild his life.

Joram has children and says he simply wants to return to work, re-regularise his stay so he can support his children.

When Joram last visited Zimbabwe in 2006, he was detained and tortured after the authorities found he had served in the British army and accused him of being a spy.

He no longer has any connections in the country and fears if he were to return, he risks being tortured again or even killed.

In the Commons on Monday, Ms Sultana raised the issue with Leo Docherty MP – the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Defence, People and Veterans – who has promised to ‘review the details of the case and report back with his findings’.

A Home Office ‘processing error’ on March 2 also resulted in Joram being put on a bus to the airport (even though his deportation had been deferred) and it was only last minute interventions by the MP and his lawyers that prevented him from being put on the plane.

Ms Sultana echoed Joram’s words that he had dedicated his life to fight for the UK which he loved so much – he made a mistake, is suffering from PTSD and questions why he is not being given a chance.

A pre-action correspondence was sent to the Home Office on March 2 and Joram and his legal team are awaiting a response.

But his legal team expressed concerns about an email sent by the Home Office on March 4 which ‘sounded like a resolute predetermination to deport him’.

“They stated that they were confident the decision to facilitate his removal would certainly take place within 14 days (the average turnaround time for pre-action protocols) and he would be deported within six weeks of their letter.

“They also made it clear that the only barrier to his removal was the Pre-Action Letter we had sent.”

The legal team also claimed there were some inconsistencies in the Home Office correspondence.

“For example, the decision to defer Joram’s deportation was confirmed to Zarah Sultana MP by the Immigration Minister on Friday, February 25.

“This was four days before we submitted our Pre-Action protocol.

“However, the Home Office letter mentioned that the decision to defer Joram’s deportation was made due to our Pre-Action Protocol submission, yet this was some four days after the deportation deferral had already been confirmed.”

They added the letter mentioned Joram’s risk of re-offending was ‘very high’ which was contrary to the probation officer’s report which the legal team enclosed in the evidence as it stated the risk was ‘low’.

“Before the decision to release Joram, the Home Office was of the opinion he was likely to abscond if he was to be released on Immigration Bail.

“Joram has children and simply wants to return to work, re-regularise his stay so that he can support his children.

“Absconding, therefore, is clearly not in his best interests. The Home Office’s reasoning was the fact that since he fears for his life and does not want to return to Zimbabwe, he is likely to abscond his Home Office reporting duties.

“However, the fact that a deportee does not want to return to a country he faces persecution upon return, is no justification for the assumption that he is likely to abscond.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “All claims are fully considered and decided upon before removal and we would not remove anyone where there were outstanding claims or concerns.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “All claims are fully considered and decided upon before removal and we would not remove anyone where there were outstanding claims or concerns.”

“The New Plan for Immigration will fix the broken immigration system and stop the abuse we are seeing by expediting the removal of foreign national offenders and those who have no right to be here.

“The Government makes no apology for removing murderers, rapists and child abusers and those with no legal right to be in the UK. Since January 2019 we have removed over 10,017 foreign criminals.”

Source: Coventry Observer

%d bloggers like this: