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Deportation threat for Ipswich man

PUBLISHED: 23:12 17 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:56 02 March 2010

FRIENDS and foster family of teenage asylum seeker Elton Ismaili are in shock today after he was taken away to be deported.

Mr Ismaili was being held by immigration authorities yesterday after attending his weekly signing-in session at Ipswich Police Station.

FRIENDS and foster family of teenage asylum seeker Elton Ismaili are in shock today after he was taken away to be deported.

Mr Ismaili was being held by immigration authorities yesterday after attending his weekly signing-in session at Ipswich Police Station.

He was immediately taken to an asylum detention centre in Harwich, where he is now facing the prospect of being flown back to Kosovo within a week.

Kevin Harris, his foster father, said: "He went to sign in at the police station and they just took him straight off to Harwich.

"He went down there on his moped. They didn't even give him a chance to move it and actually told him he'd probably get a parking ticket for it.

"I just can't understand how they can treat someone like that."

Mr Ismaili, who worked at Salentina restaurant in Ipswich, arrived in the UK when he was just 14, having fled from his home country of Kosovo.

He was taken in to the care of social services before being fostered by Mr Harris and his wife Karen, of Bell Lane, Kesgrave. He had recently moved to his own flat in Ipswich.

Mr Harris said: "We are all feeling very cut up about it. We had to ring the detention centre three times before we were even allowed to speak to him and no-one really knows how soon it will be before he is flown back.

"He said it's like a prison and he has people sitting with him all the time. They've taken his phone off him and he hasn't even been able to ring his girlfriend.

"We've been told we can apply for bail for him, but he is probably going to be sent back next Tuesday or Thursday and by the time we've been through the system it will probably be no good.

"If he's got to go back I really want to be able to go with him and at least help him until he is back on his feet."

The family were due to be going to visit Mr Ismaili in Harwich today.

What do you think about Elton's situation? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

IN 1999, in war-torn Kosovo, forces stormed Elton Ismaili's home village of Skenderaj. The youngster ran for his life leaving his parents and two brothers as soldiers opened fire.

He crossed the Macedonian border and found relative safety at a refugee camp.

His aunt, who lived in the country, found him and took him to her home. During that time his uncle made several trips to Skenderaj but found no trace of his family. Mr Ismaili believes they are dead.

In 2001 a tank of the Macedonian government, part of a force trying to quell the Albanian population's revolt, attacked his aunt's house and killed his uncle.

His aunt paid $2,000 to smuggle Mr Ismaili into England in the back of a lorry, saying she would follow. Mr Ismaili believes she had no more money left and has never heard from her again.

Having left Macedonia in 2001, when he was 14, Mr Ismaili arrived in England and was taken in by social services and then by foster parents Kevin and Karen Harris.

But in October last year, he was refused further leave to remain. Subsequent appeals have failed.


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