Elton must return to Kosovo

PUBLISHED: 21:30 29 June 2005 | UPDATED: 05:57 02 March 2010

KOSOVAN asylum seeker Elton Ismaili was today left reeling from a decision by Immigration Minister Tony McNulty who has rejected his appeal to stay in the UK.

KOSOVAN asylum seeker Elton Ismaili was today left reeling from a decision by Immigration Minister Tony McNulty who has rejected his appeal to stay in the UK.

Kevin and Karen Harris, Elton's foster family in Kesgrave, and Richard Howitt, the Labour MEP for the eastern region, were devastated by the government's decision that the 19-year-old Ipswich restaurant worker would not be allowed to remain in the country on compassionate grounds.

In a letter sent to Mr Howitt's office today, Mr McNulty wrote: "I am satisfied he was afforded and exercised his right to appeal against the decision.

"I can see no reason to again defer Mr Ismaili's removal."

Elton is being held in the Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre near Heathrow and had been granted an eleventh-hour reprieve when Mr McNulty agreed to review the case personally. He had been scheduled for removal last Thursday but the Harris' and their children Jamie, Nathan, Liam, Sophie, Kyle and Sarah had hoped the minister's intervention would see him allowed to remain in the country he has called home for the past five years.

After receiving the letter Mr Howitt, who has fought for Elton to be allowed to stay, said: "I am bitterly disappointed. I felt that on compassionate grounds an exception could be made.

"The whole way this case has been dealt with has exposed the deep flaws in the system.

"The real victims in this case are Elton and people like him."

The Home Office has not told Elton's family when he will be flown back to Kosovo. They fear he could be put on a flight scheduled to leave tomorrow (Thurs).

They now face the prospect of Elton being removed from the country without them being able to say a final goodbye.

Mr Harris said: "We're distraught at the moment.

"We'll still try and fight. It's not over yet. What we want to do is try and get Elton back into the country.

"The government and the Home Office have let him down."

In returning to Kosovo, Elton faces returning to a country he fled in terror as a 14-year-old after his family were killed. Mr Howitt was today working to ensure he will not be left to fend for himself in what is now a strange land.

He is appealing to the International Organisation on Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to assist Elton with his return to Kosovo.

He said: "We need them to monitor what happens to him.

"I didn't want this day to come and I don't believe the removal is just but I am now working to ensure the assistance is given to him at the other end."

n. What do you think about Elton being sent back? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email

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