Asylum seeker claims he is being sent home to his death

IPSWICH: An asylum seeker who is due to be deported today says he will be killed if he is sent back to his native Zimbabwe.

Lovemore Muzadzi fled his home country in January 2007 and has lived in Ipswich for nearly five years.

But he says he is scared he will be put to death if he is sent back tonight, as planned.

A campaign has been launched to earn the 34-year-old a last-minute reprieve.

“I was a victim of torture and I had to flee persecution. It’s had a big effect on me,” he said.

“To people in Zimbabwe, I have, in effect, committed treason by claiming asylum in England, so that’s a life sentence for me.

“I’m not ready to die. If I go back there I will end up six feet under.

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“I have integrated into my society and I am a clean-living person. The people here have become my family.

“It’s a matter of life or death.”

Mr Muzadzi claims he would be in danger if he goes back because he was a member of the opposition party in Zimbabwe, and because his ex-wife is now married to a police officer.

He has also served as secretary of the Ipswich branch of the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe, which would leave him even more vulnerable when he returns.

Marie Weatherall, volunteer co-ordinator at the Refugee Council, said: “Lovemore came here and claimed asylum, but he isn’t one of these people who would just sit back and wait for the state to look after him.

“He does a lot of volunteering in Ipswich. We just couldn’t help but love him. He’s always got a friendly smile on his face, he’s so positive.

“Asylum seekers are not allowed to work but he was desperate to do something for himself and his community.”

Mr Muzadzi, who has four children in Zimbabwe and used to work as an export director, is today awaiting deportation at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre and is due to board a flight to Nairobi at 7pm tonight.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Mr Muzadzi’s case has been carefully considered by the UK Border Agency and by the courts.

“At his first appeal, an immigration judge found that he was not at risk of persecution in Zimbabwe and that his account lacked veracity. At a second appeal, a judge again found that his claim was without merit.

“The UK has a proud record of offering sanctuary to those who need it, but people who do not have a genuine need for our protection must return to their home country.”

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