Asylum seeker in last-ditch bid to stay

SUPPORTERS of an Ipswich asylum seeker who is staging a last-ditch bid to remain in the country were today waiting to hear if a court challenge would win him a reprieve.

Grant Sherlock

SUPPORTERS of an Ipswich asylum seeker who is staging a last-ditch bid to remain in the country were today waiting to hear if a court challenge would win him a reprieve.

Barristers acting for Mathias Edoh Agbenokoudji are tomorrow due to appeal to a judge to overturn the Home Office's rejection of the 32-year-old's case.

If the court action fails, the government could deport the popular film-maker, web designer and musician back to Togo within days.


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Today he said: “I'm a bit scared. I think it's my last chance.”

Mr Agbenokoudji, of St Helen's Street, has gathered a growing number of supporters since his five-year bid to remain in the UK looked all but defeated.

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The Home Office has declared that his claims to need refuge in the UK are unfounded and have said he should return to his west African homeland.

However he insists he fears for his life if he returns, because of his membership of a government opposition group.

He said: “My lawyer said it's a strong case. She said if we lose when we go to court then she will have to launch a fresh claim and also she has to appeal to the High Court.”

However Mr Agbenokoudji said there were signs the Immigration and Nationality Directorate was preparing to remove him from the country.

He said: “When I went to sign in two weeks ago they took my picture and when I went on Thursday there was an immigration officer in a car outside and when he saw me he got out and came inside.

“They asked me did I still live at the same address and which room number I live in.

“I was surrounded by two security people and another at the desk and they locked the door.”

Nearly 80 people took part in a rally on Ipswich's Cornhill earlier this month to call on the government to allow Mr Agbenokoudji to stay in the UK. He is a popular volunteer at CSV Media in Princes Street and Ipswich Community Radio.

Do you think Mathias Agbenokoudji should be allowed to stay? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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