'Steal or die' Iraqi jailed

AN ILLEGAL immigrant from Iraq who was left with a choice of stealing to survive or lying to officials at Felixstowe has been jailed.Heman Mohammed, 20, of no fixed abode, was refused asylum so he could not claim benefits or work legally.

AN ILLEGAL immigrant from Iraq who was left with a choice of stealing to survive or lying to officials at Felixstowe has been jailed.

Heman Mohammed, 20, of no fixed abode, was refused asylum so he could not claim benefits or work legally.

The Home Office would not deport him back to Iraq and the charity which supported him when he initially entered Britain had come to an end, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Mohammed's barrister, Cathy Bradshaw, told the court his choice was to "steal to survive" or claim asylum under a false name at the Felixstowe Immigration Office.


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The court heard that Mohammed applied for asylum in Ashford, Kent, in April 2001, but his application and subsequent appeal was turned down.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, said in January this year Mohammed went to the Immigration Office in Felixstowe and applied for asylum under a false name, but his fingerprints matched those on another application and he was arrested.

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Mohammed's co-defendant, Aziz Kuikah, 32, found himself in a similar situation. He had also applied for asylum. He sought refuge in Britain after hiding in a various lorries to reach this country.

Kuikah had initially applied for asylum in Croydon in January 2001. His application was refused and his appeal is yet to be heard.

The court heard that in June 2002 Kuikah heard that his daughter in Iraq had stepped on a mine and was likely to die.

Cys Hayes, for Kuikah, said her client was "desperate" to see his family so on the advice of friends, he reapplied for asylum in a false name to allow him to return to Iraq.

Mohammed and Kuikah pleaded guilty to entering the UK without leave. Judge John Devaux said these types of offences were becoming more prevalent.

He said: "Heman Mohammed, you travelled here in a number of lorries. You committed this offence when charitable support came to an end. You are in a state of limbo. While you do not face immediate re-patronisation, you have no right to be here and rely on the charity of others. No-one would say your position was secure or satisfactory.

"Aziz Kuikah, your position is similar but your appeal has not yet been finalised. I have no reason to doubt you were imprisoned in your homeland, that your family was left behind and that your daughter has been severely injured. The pressures on you may be even greater than that of your co-defendant."

Judge Devaux jailed Mohammed for nine months and Kuikah for eight months. The maximum penalty for this type of offending is two years in prison.

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