The Scottish wife of a failed Mauritian asylum seeker has launched a campaign to keep her husband in the UK.
Lynda Donald met Mahmad Salim Yadun four-and-a-half years ago when he moved from London to her native Aberdeen for work purposes and the pair married a year later. Salim had fled from Mauritius in 1992 because he claims that his membership of an anti-drugs pressure group had put him in danger from those who profited from the drug trade. His application for UK asylum was rejected in 1997, yet despite this refusal, the Home Office ceased communicating with Salim and his solicitor apparently advised him to wait for the process to recommence.
Surprisingly, it is only now, eight years after the initial decision was made, that the Home Office has taken action. It plans to remove Salim to Mauritius and have him re-apply for entry clearance to the UK from abroad; a step which would adversely affect both Salim and his wife. In terms of economic disruption, the repatriation of Salim would result in him losing his job in Scotland. The Home Office has told Lynda that she could ‘reasonably be expected to live in Mauritius’, yet she has worked for an oil company in Scotland for over twenty years and would not be able to obtain similar employment in Mauritius. This threat of unemployment, coupled with the incalculable emotional cost of separating a married couple, has exacerbated the pair’s worry and distress at this difficult time.
The Home Office argues that Salim’s life is no longer in danger in Mauritius, as the anti-drugs group that he was involved with has been disbanded. But whilst this tangible threat has been removed, Salim has since created a new life in Scotland with wife Lynda. Campaigners are keen to stress that since arriving in the UK, Salim has remained in employment and has paid tax, like any other British citizen. He has no criminal record and has not been involved with, or linked to, any politically controversial organisation. On the contrary, Salim has performed voluntary work for charity and has also taught modern jive dancing with his wife.
The case raises important questions about what constitutes one’s homeland and whether, after living, contributing and marrying into a society, it is really feasible, compassionate, or indeed right, to displace Salim and Lynda and to expect them to start a life in Mauritius.
A hearing has been scheduled at the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in Bothwell Street, Glasgow on Thursday 2 February at 10am and Lynda and Salim are urging campaigners and sympathetic individuals to come and demonstrate their support.