Leicester

Lorry text Afghan boy's future in UK uncertain

Ahmad Image copyright Georgina Klein
Image caption Ahmed used a phone given to him by a charity in Calais and sent a text saying he was running out of "oksijan" - meaning oxygen

A boy from Afghanistan who was rescued from a lorry on the M1 after texting he was suffocating is still waiting to find out if he can stay in the UK.

Ahmed, nine, and his older brother Jawad, travelled to the UK from a Calais migrant camp in April 2016.

They were found in a container along with 13 others when the phone was traced to a services in Leicester.

Aid worker Liz Clegg, who helped save their lives, said the brothers deserve to have their futures secured.

Image caption The text translated means "I need help, driver isn't stopping, no oxygen in the car. No signal, I am in the container. I am not joking. I swear by God"

Ahmed, who was seven at the time, was carrying a mobile phone given to him by Ms Clegg, who was working for a refugee charity in France.

He sent a text to her daughter Inca Sorrel, 26, from the refrigerated lorry they had stowed away in, saying he was running out of "oksijan" (oxygen).

Ms Clegg and Ms Sorrel were in the US at the time but contacted a friend in Kent Police, who tracked the phone to Leicester Forest East services.

She described the wait for them to be found as "the worst few hours".

Image copyright Edward Watts
Image caption Ahmed was rescued along with 14 other migrants from a container at Leicester Forest East services on the M1

The women have been in contact with Ahmed and Jawad, who is in his 20s, following their "traumatic experience".

Ms Clegg said Jawad is an "incredible" role model for his brother but is finding life as an asylum seeker "very stressful".

"They are struggling on £36 a week and he is not allowed to work," she said.

"It's humiliating and degrading to be that poor, it weighs heavily on him."

Image copyright Edward Watts
Image caption A film called Oksijan, about the events of 2016, is being screened at the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival

Ms Clegg said "phenomenal" Ahmed has made friends, is doing well at school and loves doing homework.

"He's so keen and amenable despite everything he has been through," she added.

Ms Clegg wants a decision on the brothers to be made.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We do not routinely comment on individual cases."

Follow BBC East Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, or on Instagram. Send your story ideas to eastmidsnews@bbc.co.uk.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites