Desperate asylum seeker jailed
ASYLUM seaker Nduri Haji who escaped Iraq after his brother was killed broke down and wept as he was jailed for ten weeks for claiming asylum under a false name.
By AMANDA CRESSWELL
ASYLUM seeker Nduri Haji who escaped Iraq after his brother was killed broke down and wept as he was jailed for ten weeks for claiming asylum under a false name.
Desperate Haji, of no fixed abode, held his head in his hands and sobbed openly in the dock after he was sentenced to imprisonment at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court.
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The 25-year-old former shopkeeper from the Kurdish area of Iraq admitted trying to obtain leave to remain as a refugee in this country by deception.
The court heard Haji was arrested as an illegal immigrant in Dover in February 2000, but his application for asylum was refused a year later, prosecutor Mike Crimp told magistrates.
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He was released pending an appeal hearing.
But on September 18 this year Haji needlessly went into Felixstowe immigration office under a different name, claiming he had arrived in the UK hidden in a lorry eight days earlier.
He was arrested ten days later and made full admissions.
The court heard Haji ran a shop with his elder brother in Iraq when members of the PKK – the Kurdish workers party – forced them to hand over food and other items.
Word that the pair provided food to the PKK got to officers of the PDKI – the Kurdish Democratic Party – who confronted the brothers and accused them of supplying food to their enemies.
"The PKK and the PDKI do not see eye to eye," Howard Catherall, mitigating, told magistrates sitting in Ipswich.
The pair were detained by the PDKI for six months who subjected them to "repeated beatings and harsh treatment."
On their release the PKK returned. This time demanding food at 3am. "His brother, fed up with the situation, got into an argument and was killed," Catherall told the court. "Mr Haji found he had no option but to make his escape."
Haji fled to the UK where he was arrested in Dover. The court heard he became "desperate and frightened" because he thought his appeal had been refused and he was liable for deportation.
As a result he made his way to Felixstowe where he claimed asylum under a false name.
"This was all the more unfortunate, the fact that he needn't have gone to all this extent to remain in the UK," said Catherall.
In sentencing, bench chairman Mark Wade, told him: "This is not a sophisticated deception, it was more a desperate deception."