To: Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP
SAMIM BIGZAD - Urgent leave to appeal deportation to Afghanistan
Please give SAMIM BIGZAD 22, a period of 90 days grace, where he is released from detention, to give him time to gather fresh evidence (that he is in danger from the Taliban if he is returned to Afganistan) for his asylum claim.
Why is this important?
This photo is of Samim and Ted the cat.
Samim is 22 and comes from Afghanistan. He was placed with me by KRAN (Kent Refugee Action Network) & Refugees at Home and has been staying with me for over four months.
Sam left Afghanistan two years ago; his life was in danger from the Taliban because of family and work issues. He came to England via the camps at Calais. I never asked too many details as he became visibly upset when talking about it, but from what I can gather it was a distressing journey.
Sam's father is a UK citizen and has lived here for ten years. He suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and Sam is his father's main carer, visiting him every day at his B&B, taking food and accompanying him to mosque for prayers. Sam is a loyal and dutiful son, and his father depends on his love and support.
When I first met Sam for a coffee, I asked if he liked cats, because he would have to like my cat Ted if he came to stay with me. He assured me he did. Sam arrived for trial period of a week and we got on so well, he has ended up staying with me ever since.
He and Ted became the best of friends. Ted sleeps on his bed every night and sits by his bedroom door when he is out.
At home we talk about, family, religion, history and the cat – lots about the cat. I am constantly trying to feed him toast and biscuits, Sam has a very sweet tooth!
On Tuesday 4th July Sam went to his monthly signing at the immigration office in London Bridge as usual. That afternoon I had a text from him telling me not to worry but he's been taken into custody. He could be sent back to Afghanistan at any time. It is so deeply upsetting. He sounded scared and confused. Perhaps I have been naïve, but I never imagined this would ever happen to the gentle, funny young man I know.
So what happened? Samim had problems with his first solicitor, Samim now has a new solicitor who is trying to submit a fresh asylum claim to the Home Office but needs some time to do so, his previous claim was not handled correctly.
I visited Sam at the immigration detention centre; he is trying to remain positive and is always so grateful for any small gesture of kindness.
Sam is not just a number, not just a statistic – he's a shy, lovely, funny, polite and harmless young man who needs our help. Sam likes cricket, Ted the cat, history and learning English.
I hear from him via text most days. He's still managing to be positive. Here is one of his messages:
Hi Dear kavel. Im so happy to hear from you. I am okay. Ill be strong. Thanks for everythink i really Appreciate that Dear kavel. Your so kind. Here is all facillieties . Well it happens no need for sory. I hope u and tedd be well. I miss you and my lovely fatty teddy. Please Take care of yourself and our teddy. and ill let u know about appointment.
It is terrifying to think of Samim being sent back to Afghanistan – a country he fled because his life was in danger. I am also concerned for his father here in the UK, who depends on him so much. Samim can not gather fresh evidence for his Asylum case whilst in the detention centre.
I received some bad news about Samim today, he is booked on a flight back to Afghanistan, Saturday the 26th of August. His Solicitor has asked for a judicial review, if this is declined, he will be returned to Afghanistan.
Please sign the petition asking the Minister of State for Immigration, the Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP to give Samim and his solicitor time to appeal on his asylum status. We are asking for a grace period of 90 days where he is released from detention to give him time to gather fresh evidence.