Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield refugee avoids deportation

Reza Yosefi
Image caption Mr Yosefi came to the UK aged 16 from Iran

An asylum seeker who was fighting deportation has been granted a reprieve hours before he was due to be flown out to Afghanistan.

Reza Yosefi, 20, has lived in Sheffield for the past four years and was due to be removed from the UK on Tuesday.

However, the European Court of Human Rights blocked his removal late on Monday "until further notice", a supporter said.

Mr Yosefi said his situation remained unclear.

The Home Office said its view of his case had not changed, and that the UK Border Agency had carefully considered his case.

Mr Yosefi's family originate from Afghanistan but he was born in Iran and has never lived there.

One of the campaigners working to prevent Mr Yosefi's deportation, Marishka Van Steenbergen, said the reprieve came in a letter faxed from the European Court of Human Rights late on Monday evening.

She said: "Reza is in the Harmondsworth detention centre and at seven o'clock last night he was faxed a letter saying the UK government had been informed he should not be removed to Afghanistan until further notice.

"But we had to find an immigration officer to show the letter to, so he couldn't be removed (from the UK)."

Speaking from the detention centre, Mr Yosefi said his situation was still far from clear.

He said: "I was really worried, but I got the letter and it gave me some hope I can stay here, but it's not over.

"I was feeling scared and panicking, I didn't know where I would go or who I would ask for help."

Mr Yosefi grew up in Iran as the son of illegal Afghan refugees before fleeing to the UK.

He moved to the UK as an asylum seeker when he was 16, a journey which took him seven months.

As a minor he was looked after by social services in Sheffield but once he turned 18 he was refused permission to remain indefinitely.

Because his parents are considered illegal immigrants in Iran they have no Iranian citizenship and Mr Yosefi has been told he must return to Afghanistan, but he has no family or friends there.

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