Support floods in for Matt

SUPPORT is continuing to come from all quarters today backing Naematullah Rahmati's bid to remain in Britain.The plight of the 21-year-old Afghan asylum seeker, who lives in Victoria Street, Ipswich, has led dozens of people to protest at the decision to kick him out of the country.

SUPPORT is continuing to come from all quarters today backing Naematullah Rahmati's bid to remain in Britain.

The plight of the 21-year-old Afghan asylum seeker, who lives in Victoria Street, Ipswich, has led dozens of people to protest at the decision to kick him out of the country.

One those outraged by the Home Office's stance is Steve Bassingthwaighte, a senior lecturer at Suffolk College who taught Mr Rahmati as he learned his trade as a mechanic.

Mr Bassingthwaighte could not believe Mr Rahmati, who is known to his friends as Matt, was now branded an illegal alien after fleeing to Britain five years ago on his own.


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He said: "I felt sick and disgusted by this decision.

"I am a senior lecturer at Suffolk College in the motor vehicle section, where Matt has been an inspiring student.

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"Always polite and regular in attendance and punctuality, we have all been following Matt's progress.

"He is an exemplary student and a fine young man who would be a credit to any motor trader, having worked so hard to learn our language and then a technical subject.

"Naematt is a happy and diligent lad who always thanks us for our help.

"I find it difficult to understand our legal system that wants to out someone so keen and willing to work and pay his way, when we allow others to roam our streets, claiming money, housing and some being guilty of crime.

"I am proud to be British, but this sort of red tape farce pushes my tolerance. I would dearly love an explanation as to any possible reasons for this decision."

Another dissenting voice is Pam Littlejohn, vice president of Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality and co-ordinator of the Waterfront community centre. The centre is helping to organise a petition on Mr Rahmati's behalf.

She said: "Matt rightfully says he gets upset when people come here to abuse the benefit system, but he is not one of them.

"The government needs to investigate more thoroughly individual cases and not forget the statistics on paper are people.

"All have different reasons why they have applied for asylum and wish to remain in the UK.

"We have additional petition forms to sign at the centre in 32-34 Grimwade Street. Matt is a member of our community and I believe he should be allowed to stay."

Mr Rahmati's appeals against a decision to decline his application for asylum on the basis he fears for his life if he returns to Afghanistan has been declined.

He has been told he is no longer in danger of persecution.

N Do you think Mr Rahmati should be given a reprieve? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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