Kent

Samim Bigzad: Asylum seeker criticises home secretary

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Media captionFailed asylum seeker Samim Bigzad was flown to Kabul

An asylum seeker has accused the home secretary of "playing" with his life after he was flown to Afghanistan against a High Court injunction.

Samim Bigzad said he spent five days hiding from gunmen in a Kabul hotel before being returned to the UK.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd is accused of contempt of court, but the Home Office says the order to take Mr Bigzad off a flight from the UK came "too late".

The 23-year-old, who was living in Kent, is now re-applying for asylum.

Law firm Duncan Lewis, representing Mr Bigzad, says the injunction was granted while he was waiting for the flight, and commenced contempt of court proceedings after the Home Office put him on that flight.

Mr Bigzad, who is back with a foster family in Ramsgate, said he was forced out of Afghanistan because the Taliban threatened to behead him for working with American firms in his job.

"The Home Secretary is just playing with my life," he said.

"When I came back to England I feel like I've come back to my home, I kissed the ground and I feel safe."

But, a Home Office spokesman said: "We took action to comply with the court order and worked to return Mr Bigzad as soon as possible despite significant logistical challenges in securing the necessary documentation and limited flight availability.

"We maintain that it was too late to disembark Mr Bigzad from the Istanbul to Kabul flight by the time the injunction was served, some 10 hours after the removal process began."

Image copyright @DLPublicLaw/Twitter
Image caption Samim Bigzad's foster family met him at Heathrow airport and Fergus Hendry of Kent Refugee Action Network

Mr Bigzad came to the UK in 2015 to look after his father, who lives in Margate and suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).

He said: "I hope in the future just to play my cricket and study English and look after my dad."

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