Roll call of deaths of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, 2002-2004

Roll call of deaths of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, 2002-2004


Written by: Harmit Athwal

IRR has, since 1989, been recording the deaths of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants – two of the most vulnerable sections of our society – as a result of attempting to enter the UK, self-harm, denial of medical treatment, destitution, hazardous working conditions or racist attacks.

Forced by circumstances beyond their control to seek a life outside their home countries, prevented by our laws from entering legally and from working, denied a fair hearing by the asylum system, excluded from health and safety protection at work, kept from social care and welfare, unhoused and destitute, vilified by the media and therefore dehumanised in the popular imagination, their hopes of another life are finally extinguished.

This page lists deaths from 2002-2004. Click here to read the list of deaths from 1989-2001. Click here to read the list of deaths from 2005 onwards.

 Unidentified man, 1/02

Died after being electrocuted on top of a train in the Channel Tunnel heading for the UK.

Ø Souleyman Diallo, (28), 1/1/02

A Guinean asylum seeker committed suicide by jumping 100 feet off Redheugh Bridge, Tyneside, a few weeks after being told he was to be deported back to Guinea. Souleyman, who spoke little English, was dispersed to Gateshead soon after he arrived in July 2000 and was not provided with any translation services. He felt that the interpreter at his appeal hearing had misinterpreted him. His solicitor commented that his ‘inability to access competent legal advice, difficulties in communicating his case and tight deadlines for submission of statements have contributed to his case not being properly heard’. She made a complaint to the Immigration Commissioners about his death. The coroner recorded an open verdict.

Ø Abdul Hashi Mohamed, (30), 15/2/02

A Somali asylum seeker was found dead at his flat in the Kensington area of Liverpool. His landlord found him in his bedroom with his feet near a bucket of water and his hand next to exposed wires. Vodka and paracetamol were also found in his system. Abdul had moved to Liverpool from Northampton just two months prior to his death. An inquest in April 2002 found that he had died from electrocution and recorded an open verdict.

 Unidentified man, 18/2/02

Died after falling from a train in the Channel Tunnel heading for the UK. Maintenance workers discovered his body 14 miles into the tunnel.

 Unidentified person, 20/2/02

Five stowaways attempted to board a freight train as it entered the Channel Tunnel. One was hit by a hydraulic ram and crushed to death.

Ø § Nariman Tahamasbi, (27), 25/2/02

An Iranian asylum seeker was found hanged in Lewes prison. He had been refused asylum in the UK and fearful of being deported back to Iran, he attempted to flee to Canada using the same forged travel documents that had brought him to the UK. He was arrested at Gatwick airport, charged over false documents and sentenced to six months imprisonment. Less than a week after arriving in the prison, he hanged himself from the bars of his cell with a bed-sheet and died in hospital five days later without regaining consciousness. A jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure following a three-day inquest into the death in May 2005. (Read IRR News story: Asylum death deemed misadventure)

Ø Mohsen Amri, (27), 12/3/02

An Iranian asylum seeker committed suicide at his home in Handsworth, Birmingham, after having a work permit refused and asylum application rejected. He had been in the UK for two years and made repeated requests for work permits (he did not want to work illegally). His asylum application had been refused on a technicality.

 Unidentified man, 14/4/02

Believed to be African, he was found dead in the undercarriage of a freight plane at Heathrow airport. The plane had flown from Uganda via Cairo and Ostend in Belgium to Heathrow.

Ø Shiraz Pir, (25), 7/5/02

A Pakistani asylum seeker died five days after being found hanged in his Bristol home after his asylum claim was rejected. Facing deportation, he could not understand why friends had been given refugee status and he had been denied. He left a note asking that his body be returned to his parents. An inquest recorded a verdict of suicide whilst the balance of his mind was temporarily disturbed. The coroner criticised the Home Office for the delay with his asylum application.

Ø Forsina Makoni, (79), 11/5/02

An elderly Zimbabwean woman died after setting herself alight in Gillingham after her claim for political asylum was refused. She had been a vocal opponent of Robert Mugabe’s regime and became depressed in the weeks before her death after her claim was refused.

 Unidentified man, (30s), 16/5/02

Believed to be west African, he was found dead in the wheelarch of a British Airways flight from Ghana.

 Unidentified Russian man, 12/6/02

Trying to cross the Channel from France, he went missing after his canoe capsized. Another man clung to the canoe for over five hours before being rescued and taken to hospital in Calais suffering from hypothermia.

• Esther Nagy, (20), 17/7/02

A Hungarian migrant worker died from injuries sustained after a forklift truck overturned at Bury Farm in Melbourn Cambridgeshire. In September 2004, E.W. Pepper Ltd was fined £20,000 for its failure to use trained staff to drive forklift trucks.

# Peiman Bahmani, (28), 29/8/02

An Iranian asylum seeker died after being stabbed in a racist attack in Hendon, Sunderland. Peiman shared a home with four other Iranians and police alleged there was a confrontation outside the house with a group of white people. Peiman, whose asylum claim had not yet been decided, worked as the manager at Leonardo’s Italian restaurant in Sunderland, owned by his girlfriend, Sonia Voza. In February 2003, 18-year-old Steven Roberts was jailed for life for his murder.

Ø Sophia Kamau, 10/02

An asylum seeker from Kenya was found hanged in a house in Bamfurlong, Wigan. Wigan Today reported that she had told friends she has fled to the UK after catching criminals laundering money at the bank where she worked in Kenya. Her asylum claim had been refused but she was appealing the decision when she was found dead.

# Mustafa Ally Abdillahi, (31), 10/02

A Somali refugee was found with serious head injuries in a hostel for the homeless in Luton. In May 2003, 36-year-old Neal Bond, who also lived in the hostel, was convicted of his murder. Bond, who denied the charges, was sentenced to life imprisonment. Mustafa was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher and Bond’s footprints were found on his sweatshirt. The motivation behind the attack was not revealed in court. Bond claimed not to remember what happened, despite being found in his room, his hands, clothing and duvet all covered with Mustafa’s blood.

Ø § Beverley Fowler, (32), 2/10/02

A Jamaican woman was found hanged two days before the end of her sentence, in Durham prison. She was a mother of three who was due to be deported back to Jamaica after serving a sentence for drug smuggling. In September 2003, an inquest recorded an open verdict. The inquest was told she feared for her safety in Kingston because the man who forced her into drug smuggling had murdered her partner.

• Adam Borowik, (27) and Sebastian Skorupski, (21), 19/10/02

Polish migrant workers died after becoming entangled in a motorised rope-reeling machine. An inquest, in July 2003, recorded a verdict of accidental death; the HSE investigated and a HSE safety inspector described the accident as the worst he had seen in thirty years.

 Immanuel Duah and another young boy, 30/11/02

Aged about 12-14 years-old, the boys were found dead in the wheel compartment of a Ghana Airways flight from Accra to Heathrow airport. A ground engineer found them huddled together.

Ø Christelle Nyamugabo, (13), 12/12/02

An asylum seeker from the DRC was found at home in south London having taken an overdose. She had travelled to the UK with her family who were still waiting the outcome of their asylum claim when Christelle died. In February 2003, a coroner recorded an open verdict after hearing that it was neither possible to find where she had obtained the prescription drug she took nor any evidence of third party involvement.

Ø Sirous Khajeh, (29), 24/12/02

An Iranian asylum seeker was found hanged at his home in Huddersfield. He was a torture victim who had been told that his asylum claim had been rejected and he faced eviction from his home and deportation. However, this information was incorrect and Sirous had in fact been granted asylum. A Yorkshire coroner recorded a verdict of suicide and was critical of the Home Office’s handling of his application.

Ø § Mikhail Bognarchuk, (42), 31/1/03

An Ukrainian asylum seeker was found hanged at Haslar removal centre. An inquest recorded a suicide verdict. (Read IRR News article: Haslar – a place of no return)

# Mohammed Isa Hasan Ali, (22), 9/2/03

An Afghan asylum seeker died two days after being attacked by a man in Southampton. His 17-stone assailant shoved him in the chest because he seemed to be laughing at him and he fell to the ground ‘like a ton of bricks’. Because he had his hands in his pockets he was unable to break his fall. He lay unconscious on the ground for a while and was assisted by passing nurses. Police were called to the scene and after speaking to both men let them leave. Mohammed suffering from a fractured skull and bleeding went home where he told his housemates that he had been attacked and then went to bed with a headache, not realising the extent of his injuries. He was later taken to Southampton General hospital where he died. A post mortem found that he died from a fractured skull. Alexander Briant, 21, was convicted of manslaughter. (Read IRR News article: Afghan asylum seeker killed in Southampton )

Ø Nadim Hussaini, (18), 2/5/03

An asylum seeker from Afghanistan died two days after suffering serious injuries after falling from a bridge over the M60 motorway at Stockport. (He survived for two days in hospital after suffering serious head injuries.) The Manchester Evening News reported that just days before his death his asylum application had been refused.

Ø § Liu Jin Wu, (35), 5/5/03

A Chinese asylum seeker took his own life while on remand at HMP Barlinnie in Scotland. It emerged during a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) that he was a Mandarin speaker who only had access to an interpreter three times during his ten weeks in the prison. He was on remand for two counts of attempted murder and during police interviews had told them that he was hearing voices; a provisional diagnosis of paranoid psychosis was made. He had been told he faced deportation regardless of what happened during the criminal proceedings as his asylum claim had been refused. The Inquiry was also told that he did not receive appropriate food as staff were unable to understand what he wanted. Staff also failed to check on him hourly as was required when he was found to be suicidal. But the FAI concluded that his suicide was due to mental health problems rather than any failure by the prison authorities.

§ Olga Blaskevica, (29), 7/5/03

A Latvian woman was murdered by her partner, Olegs Pavlos, 35, in the family holding area at Harmondsworth just hours before the pair were due to be deported from Britain. They had been working picking fruit and flowers in the UK for about a year and came to the attention of the immigration service after they were arrested when they went to a Lincolnshire police station to complain that they had been robbed. In June 2004, Pavlos denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He was found to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

 Unidentified man, (25), 18/6/03

A man from the Ivory Coast was found dead in the sea around Beachy Head near Eastbourne. The man had allegedly hidden on a ship – the Patricia Delmas – that was travelling from Belgium to Le Havre when he was arrested as a stowaway. He was being held in the ship’s jail when he managed to escape and jump overboard. It was thought that the man had mistakenly thought the ship was bound for the UK.

 Two unidentified people, 7/03

Two people thought to be seeking to enter Britain were found dead in the water by a life-boat crew in the Channel.

Ø Faizullah Ahmedi, (19), 6/7/03

An asylum seeker from Afghanistan was found hanged at his home in Blackburn. He had arrived in the UK at Dover on 18 April 2002 and, according to his friends, he was unhappy that he had not yet received a decision on his asylum claim.

• Satish Kumar, (28), Islam Uddin Ahmed, (46) and Soran Karim, (23), 7/7/03

Three agricultural workers died when the minibus they were in collided with a Great Western train in Worcestershire. The men were from India, Bangladesh and Iraq. Soran Karim was an asylum seeker from Iraq who lost his parents and a brother in the chemical attack on Halabja and was probably working illegally. In May 2004, Adnan Kadir Karim, 25, an Iraqi, who had admitted not being able to read English signs, was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of manslaughter by criminal negligence; he was also banned from driving for two years.

§ Ø Elmas Ozmico, (40), 12/7/03

A Kurdish asylum seeker died three days after being admitted to hospital suffering from septicaemia/ necrotising fasciitis. She had arrived at Dover on 8 July 2003 after travelling clandestinely from Turkey; it was during the journey she developed an abscess on her thigh. On arrival in the UK, she claimed asylum and her nephew (with whom she had travelled) requested a doctor and an interpreter. He says this request was ignored, as were subsequent ones. The family spent the night in detention in Dover detention centre and the following day Elmas requested a doctor, but it was not until she collapsed that workers at Migrant Helpline realised that she was very ill and that she needed an ambulance to take her to hospital. An inquest found that she died of natural causes. In June 2006, at the High Court, Elmas’ husband was denied a new inquest into her death after claiming that the first coroner failed to direct the inquest jury properly. (Read IRR News articles: Asylum seeker death in Dover from ‘natural causes’ and Did delay in treatment contribute to the death of a Turkish asylum seeker?)

 Hekmat Karmin Salih, (29), 17/8/03

An Iraqi Kurd was found dead in a lorry entering Britain after being crushed by metal containers. The lorry was stopped by police in Poole, Dorset, and three men were found – the body of Hekmat and two others, who were arrested.

Ø Vasiliy Todchuk, (24), 9/03

A Russian national who had deserted from the Russian army in Chechnya, was found hanged on a building site in Govan, Glasgow. He had been detained in Polmont YOI on criminal charges in early 2003 and attempted suicide on the day before his release. Several weeks before his death he had been advised that he would be deported.

Ø Israfil Shiri, (30), 3/9/03

A destitute Iranian asylum seeker died six days after pouring petrol over his body and setting himself alight in the offices of Refugee Action in Manchester. His asylum application had been rejected and he was homeless and penniless. Israfil suffered from a painful bowel complaint but, after his asylum claim was refused, he was unable to get medical treatment and was in constant pain. (Read IRR News articles: Destitute Iranian dies after suicide protest at refugee charity and Open verdict on death of asylum seeker who slept in a wheelie bin )

Ø § Tema Kombe (aka Emmanuel Silva/ Gladwell Moseki Keenao), (32), 4/9/03

A Ugandan asylum seeker was found hanged in a toilet in the psychiatric ward at Heatherwood hospital, Ascot, after being detained under the Mental Health Act. The inquest returned a verdict of misadventure after hearing that he had made three previous attempts on his life.

Ø Mohammed bin Duhri, (20), 20/10/03

A Palestinian asylum seeker was found hanged at Belmarsh maximum-security prison. He had been held at Dover Immigration Removal Centre but, after he allegedly assaulted a guard, he was moved to Belmarsh. Three prison officers were suspended after filing reports saying, after the death, that he was still alive. An inquest recorded a suicide verdict.

Ø Unnamed man, 2004

An Iraqi asylum seeker set himself alight in London. He had a history of mental health problems and was scared he would be returned to Iraq.

 Two unidentified men, 2/04

Two men were found dead in the hold of a ship, the Cecdelta, which docked at Alexandra dock in Hull. The ship was carrying nuts and had travelled from Ghana. Another man was found alive.

• 23 Chinese workers: 18 men – Yu Hui, (34), Chen Mu Yu, (30), Guo Nian Zhu, (39), Lin Zhi Fang, (19), Xu Yu Hua, (37), Wu Jia Zhen, (36), Wu Hong Kang, (34), Xie Xiao Wen, (41), Lin Guo Hua, (37), Guo Bing Long, (28), Zhou Xun Cao, (38), Lin Guo Guang, (36), Cao Chao Kun, (35), Guo Chang Mou, (18), Yang Tian Long, (33), Lin Li Shui, (33), Wang Min Lin, (37), Lin You Xing, (38). 3 women – Chen Ai Qin, (39), Zhang Xiu Hua, (45) and Wang Xiu Yu, (27), 5/2/04

Twenty-three migrant workers, mostly from the Fujian province in China, died after they were caught in the dark on the mudflats by a rising tide at Morecambe Bay, Lancashire. They were all thought to be asylum seekers awaiting decisions on their claims. Fourteen survivors were taken into custody. Originally seven were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, but were later released on police bail. Two of the arrested survivors, Gua Lin, 30, and Lin Mu Lung, 29, both asylum seekers, were taken into the custody of the Immigration Service. Later, in March, a 33-year-old Chinese man was arrested in Liverpool on suspicion of manslaughter and questioned in a Lancashire police station. Many of the victims, it was reported, had been forced to work by a gang master who withheld their wages. In April, Detective Constable Neil Thompson was given a formal written warning and removed from the inquiry after he used offensive racist language (the word ‘chink’) in police interviews. Police officers also travelled to China to obtain DNA samples in order to identify those who died. In June, an inquest heard that the victims had died from drowning and all 23 had been identified although only 21 bodies had been recovered. In July 2004, Lin Liang Ren, 27, was charged with manslaughter, conspiracy to commit facilitation and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Zhao Qing Xiao, 19, was charged with conspiracy to commit facilitation and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Lin Mu Yong, 29, was charged with conspiracy to commit facilitation. In March 2006, Lin Liang Ren, was found guilty of the manslaughter of twenty-one people. His girlfriend Zhao Xiao Qing was found guilty of breaching immigration laws and perverting the course of justice and sentenced to two years and nine months. Lin Mu Yong, 31, was jailed for four years on immigration charges.

Ø § Kingsley Williamson 14/3/04

In February 2004, after serving a three-year sentence for possession of drugs Kingsley was told he would be deported to Jamaica. He had been detained in Hollesley Bay an open prison in Suffolk and had been working in an Ipswich school as part of a resettlement programme. A few days before the end of his sentence he was moved to Norwich prison and was told he would remain there until his deportation papers came through. On 14 March two weeks after he was meant to be released, he was found hanged in his cell. The Guardian reported that he was depressed at the prospect of a long wait for deportation.

# Bapishankar Kathirgamamathan, (24), 6/5/04

A Sri Lankan-born restaurant worker died two weeks after being racially attacked in Ashford, Kent. Bapishankar suffered serious head injuries after he and a friend were racially abused and then attacked on a footbridge in Victoria Road on 22 April 2004. Two men, James Rossiter, 22, and Tony Pile, 18, were charged with murder and remanded into custody. At the trial, the men denied the charges but were found guilty. The jury was told that Bapishankar’s head was kicked ‘like a football’ by the two men who had drunk ten pints each in the ‘vicious unprovoked attack’. In October 2005, the two men had their sentences reduced from 25 to 21 years.

Ø Zekria Mohammed, (27), 18/05/04

A trainee dentist from Afghanistan was found hanged from a makeshift noose behind the door of his flat in the Dennistoun area of Glasgow. Zekria had been living in Scotland for four years and he was destitute after his asylum claim had been rejected and weekly £38 benefits had been stopped. Friends commented that he was ‘ashamed and broken’ and had been ‘too proud to beg and scavenge for food in the bins. But he was starving’. It has been alleged that NASS should have provided him with food tokens, but did not even visit him. (Read IRR News article: Another asylum seeker takes own life )

Ø Hussein Nasseri, (26), 25/6/04

An Iranian asylum seeker found with a gunshot wound two weeks after his asylum claim was refused. Hussein, who was homosexual, fled Iran in March 2000 after being imprisoned for three months for his sexuality. He feared being executed if he was returned to Iran – where homosexuality is a ‘crime’ punishable by death. In June 2004, he received a letter telling him that his asylum claim had been refused, for a second time. The inquest recorded a verdict of suicide. (Read IRR News article: Inquest finds asylum refusal was motive for gay Iranian’s suicide )

Ø § Sergey Baranyuk, (31), 19/7/04

A Ukrainian asylum seeker was found hanged in Harmondsworth detention centre. His death sparked a night of disturbances at the centre and led to all the detainees being transferred to prisons and other detention centres. According to a Prison Service report into the disturbance, it found that UKDS staff began looking for Sergey at 1.45pm because he had a legal visit, he was not found until 7.50 in the evening in a shower room. The inquest into his death is due to be held in October 2006. (Read IRR News article: Sergey Baranyuk forgotten at Harmondsworth)

Ø § Tran Quang Tung, (35), 23/7/04

A Vietnamese asylum seeker was found hanged in Dungavel removal centre in Scotland days after being transferred from Harmondsworth removal centre after the disturbance in July 2004 that erupted after the death of Sergey Baranyuk. A fatal accident inquiry in May 2005 was told that Tran had been sent to Harmondsworth on 19 July after being arrested for breaching bail conditions. The inquiry was told how he arrived in the UK in April 2004 and claimed asylum though he had already tried to claim asylum in Germany). A nurse who saw him at Harmondsworth did not know what language he spoke nor did she use an interpreter. She thought that he was complaining of a headache and gave him some medicine. On 21 July he was transferred to Dungavel by bus with 59 others after the disturbance. Medical staff at Dungavel who examined him were again unable to communicate with him. When an immigration officer served him with his removal notice, for 27 July, she did not have an interpreter with her. A solicitor saw him on the day he was found hanged and was unable have to any ‘meaningful’ discussions as Tran spoke such little English. In the days before his death he had phone conversations with his sister and fiancée and had told them he was ‘sorrowful’ about his impending deportation to Germany. The fatal accident inquiry recommended that detained people, who did not speak good English, should have access to interpreters during interviews and that documents should also be translated.

Ø Ako Mahmood Ahmed, (25), 8/04

A Kurdish asylum seeker died after jumping from a bridge at a Coventry shopping centre. He arrived in the UK in May 2004 and was ‘dispersed’ to Coventry in June. His asylum claim was rejected and he lodged an appeal. However, because of legal aid limits, Ako was unable to find a solicitor to act for him. As a result, he was faced with destitution on the streets of Britain and the prospect of deportation to Iraq. In January 2005, the inquest into his death was told how, just days after arriving in the UK, he had attended a hospital suffering from superficial self-inflicted stab wounds. An asylum seeker at the same hostel told the inquest that Ako only went out alone despite attempts to encourage him to socialise. In a written statement a man who saw Ako repeatedly climb up and off the handrail (of the bridge) told the inquest ‘He looked depressed and I knew what his intentions were … he covered his face and jumped’. The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide. (Read IRR News article: Desperate asylum seeker takes own life )

# Kalan Kawa Karim, (29), 6/9/04

An Iraqi asylum seeker died after being attacked by a white man outside a pub in Swansea. Kalan was disabled – he had lost a leg below the knee after being tortured in Iraq. He came to the UK to seek asylum in 2002 and had been living in Swansea. Kalan was walking home with a friend when three men attacked them; Kalan was punched in the back of the head and taken to Morriston hospital, where he later died. Police treated the attack as racially motivated. 26-year-old Lee Mordecai was charged with Kalan’s murder. In January 2005, Mordecai admitted manslaughter (the charges were reduced after discussion with Kalan’s family) and was sentenced to five years imprisonment. The judge commented ‘I have no doubt that this incident was motivated by race. You picked on Mr Karim because he was of a different racial background from yours.’

Ø Seife Habte Yimene, (24), 26/9/04

An Ethiopian asylum seeker left a hospital where he had been seeking help and hanged himself. Seife was living in emergency accommodation in Newcastle while his asylum claim was being processed. He became very depressed in the weeks leading up to his death. On the day of his death, his friends were so concerned about his health that they took him to the Accident and Emergency department of Newcastle General Infirmary. The inquest in May 2006 was told that at the hospital Seife was seen by a doctor on four occasions but Seife refused to speak about what was wrong with him. Seife was not referred to a psychiatrist but told him he ‘could come back at any point when ready to talk’. It also emerged that at some point while Seife was in the hospital he was asked to leave, and two police officers escorted him from the premises. He was found hanged some hours later. The coroner called on a policeman to give information on Seife’s immigration status, but failed to call on a local refugee organisation or the assigned asylum caseworker who had not only been assisting with his asylum claim but also providing housing and other support. This caseworker did indeed know more details about Seife’s situation than did the police. And the details were crucial to understanding his distress and desperation. The coroner recorded an open verdict saying that there was insufficient evidence to be sure that what he did was a deliberate act. (Read IRR News article: A day in the death of an asylum seeker )

Ø Majid Rafieei, (32), 14/10/04

An Iranian asylum seeker was found hanged from a tree in Langley Park, Sheffield. He had tied a noose around his neck before stepping off a high branch. An inquest recorded a verdict of suicide and witness statements from Majid’s GP, mental health worker and two friends said that Majid had told them that he would kill himself if his asylum claim were refused. He said that he had been repeatedly imprisoned and tortured in Iran and would rather die than return there. (Read IRR News article: Asylum seeker suicide: ‘depressed and preoccupied’)

Ø § John Kanau Manana, (24), 15/10/04

A Kenyan was found hanged from a ligature in his cell at Leicester prison. Paramedics were called and attempted resuscitation and he was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was on remand for the possession of false documents. An inquest recorded an open verdict.

Ø § Kenny Peter, 7/11/04

A Nigerian asylum seeker died in Charing Cross hospital, nearly three weeks after sustaining injuries during an apparent self-harm attempt at Colnbrook immigration removal centre. It is believed that on 19 October, Kenny jumped from a landing and sustained serious injuries, from which he later died. (Read IRR News article: Kenny Peter’s inquest points to asylum failures)

Ø Hemen Mahmood Faqia, (40), 27/11/04

An Iraqi asylum seeker was found in the River Tyne, near Redheugh bridge, an hour after leaving his flat in Elswick. Hemen was Kurdish and sought asylum in the UK after fleeing persecution but he had agreed to voluntary repatriation. He was said to be worried about his wife and three children in Iraq and had been unhappy and depressed in the days before his death. A post mortem found that Hemen had died from drowning. In March 2005, the coroner recorded an open verdict saying, ‘I don’t feel I can arrive at a reliable conclusion because we have no evidence as to why he came to be in the water. There is nothing to tell us what happened to him between when he left his flat and was found in the water.’

Related links

See also the IRR’s reports: Driven to desperate measures (pdf file, 401kb) and Driven to desperate measures: 2006-2010 (pdf file, 432 kb)

IRR Research: Roll call of deaths of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, 1989-2001

IRR Research: Roll call of deaths of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, 2002-2004

IRR Research: Roll call of deaths of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, 2005 onwards

National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns


Bail for Immigration Detainees

Barbed Wire Britain

Prisons and Probation Service Ombudsman fatal accident investigation reports

KEY:  Stowaway death; Ø Self-harm/prevention of medical treatment/destitution; § In detention; • working (illegally) accident; # racist attack.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

3 thoughts on “Roll call of deaths of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, 2002-2004

  1. what a shame uk there is so many people die and home office dosn,t give tooast i think im goina be next i have been here 7years and im not working or geting any thing from this country friend supporting me how long do john ried want me to be like this thank you

  2. i lost my friend yesterday he was kurdish,i have never met such a wonderful person,i think if he didn’t have so much stress put on him for wanting a british citzenship so much from the home office then maybe he would be with his friends and family today,i think that england don’t help immigants as much as they could they all come here for a reason and ask for your help and most people only think that they are here for is there jobs when they are trying to do what every one us do in life which is to provide for our selves and our families.

  3. Leanne, are you kidding, “Britain doesn’t help asylum seekers as much as they could” They come here, get somewhere to live, are given money because they are prohibited to work, but use false documents to work illegally, and still cry persecution. I don.t mind people fleeing their country because they are in danger, but for crying out loud, economic migrants coming here and abusing the system is wrong, and makes a mockery of the immigration. I work pay taxes and even i don.t get things handed on a plate. Wake up and smell the coffee. The goverment doesn’t do enough, can i pick my chin of the floor, it dropped their in shock of your comment.

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