Fresh appeal to let Mathias stay

AN asylum seeker desperate to say in Ipswich has launched a fresh appeal to the government based on the publicity the campaign to win him a reprieve has attracted.

AN asylum seeker desperate to say in Ipswich has launched a fresh appeal to the government based on the publicity the campaign to win him a reprieve has attracted.

Having had his claim repeatedly turned down by Home Office officials and more recently a judge, lawyers acting for Mathias Edoh Agbenokoudji, of St Helen's Street, are now suggesting that the publicity surrounding his case may have made it dangerous for him to return home.

The 32-year-old web designer and film-maker's case attracted attention locally after a groundswell of support for him developed.

In the biggest show of support for him, nearly 80 people gathered on the Cornhill to call on the government to reverse its decision.


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Today Mr Agbenokoudji's lawyers said the high-profile nature of the fight to have him stay could have made the prospect of a return to Togo more dangerous for him.

Liz Norman, a solicitor with CLC Solicitors in Kensal Rise, London, who is representing Mr Agbenokoudji, said a fresh claim for asylum had been lodged after a judge's decision to uphold the government's ruling.

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She said: “The fresh claim has been submitted on the basis that the extensive publicity has found its way on to Togolese websites which are likely to be monitored by, and of interest to, the Togolese authorities.

“Regardless of his earlier evidence, this alone may create an adverse interest from the Togolese authorities should he be returned.”

The legal team had previously insisted that Mr Agbenokoudji's involvement with an opposition political movement in his west African homeland meant that a return would endanger his life.

However enquiries by Ipswich MP Chris Mole suggested that the government insisted that others had been returned without persecution on their arrival back in Togo and that there was no reason to believe Mr Agbenokoudji's case would be different.

Central to the support for Mr Agbenokoudji locally is his involvement with the CSV Media Clubhouse and Ipswich Community Radio in Princes Street, where he volunteers and helps to construct websites for charity and volunteer groups.

Speaking of the fresh claim, Ms Norman said: “We have also relied on his private life and that he is valued within the community in Ipswich.”

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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