Diane Taylor writes for the Guardian about Samim’s return from Afghanistan to his Refugees at Home hosts
Samim Bigzad and host Kavel Rafferty in Ramsgate. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian
The Home Office’s decision to ignore a high court judge’s order not to send Samim Bigzad back to Kabul was met with outrage. Over the course of a protracted legal battle, judges said four times that it was wrong to remove Bigzad, who said his life was in danger from the Taliban; one said the home secretary’s breach of the first court order was “prima facie contempt of court”.
Despite a judge’s ruling that Bigzad could not be removed while legal proceedings were ongoing and he was already in Istanbul en route to Afghanistan, the government did not bring him back to the UK – but flew him to Afghanistan where three further legal challenges ensued.
Eventually Bigzad was returned to the UK. The Home Office blamed the delay on “significant logistical challenges in securing the necessary documentation and limited flight availability”.
Now his solicitor, Jamie Bell, is preparing a claim providing evidence of why Bigzad would be at risk in Afghanistan. There will be a new hearing at the end of this month.
Bigzad is overjoyed to back in Ramsgate, where he is being supported by his host, Kavel Rafferty, from the charity Refugees at Home. His English has noticeably improved since the Guardian last interviewed him.
“I feel so happy and safe here,” Bigzad said. “Everyone in Ramsgate is so nice and friendly and I have a great solicitor who is fighting hard for me to stay in the UK, where I will be safe. I hope my case will have a good conclusion.” Diane Taylor