Wales

Asylum seeker who fled DR Congo released from detention

Otis Bolamu Image copyright HBTSR
Image caption Otis Bolamu came to the UK after friends told him his life was in "severe danger"

An asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of Congo has been released from detention.

Otis Bolamu arrived in Swansea after friends in his homeland told him he was suspected of spying for the opposition and in "severe danger".

But he was detained by UK authorities on 19 December and told he would be deported back.

After 3,000 people signed a petition, he has been allowed to return to Swansea until his case is heard.

His solicitor Jamie Bell said while he has been released, further submissions must be made before a decision is made on whether he will be granted asylum.

Mr Bolamu has thanked those who campaigned to allow him back to Swansea.

On Thursday, he said he would return to the charity shop where he had been volunteering.

"I have a message to all the people from the church, Oxfam, all the people who signed the petition. Thank you," he said.

Mr Bolamu said he wanted to make a home for himself in Swansea.

South Wales West AM Bethan Sayed called his detention "unacceptable" and praised those who campaigned to have him released.

"We must now ensure that Otis receives full refugee status and will be permitted to stay in Swansea in the long term," the Plaid Cymru AM added.

A petition was started after Mr Bolamu was detained on 19 December calling on the home secretary to review his case.

Hay Festival director Peter Florence said Mr Bolamu volunteered at his event and tweeted about his plight after finding he was detained on Christmas Day.

"To discover he was being deported before his appeal had been heard seems to me bizarre and terrible," he said.

The Home Office spokeswoman said: "The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection.

"All asylum claims lodged in the UK are carefully considered on their individual merits against a background of relevant case law and up to date country information."

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