The Home Office is known to reject initial asylum applications regardless of supporting evidence in order to force people into an appeals process which is ill suited to the needs of applicants and confusing to those who may have limited English skills and little legal knowledge. These problems are exacerbated by a bureaucracy that misplaces important documents and fails to provide basic legal support to applicants. The result of this is that asylum seekers can be denied the basic right of living a normal life, unable to work and separated from their families, for many years while their applications are processed.
Mahdi Sadeghpour is a former World Champion wrestler and has been living as an asylum seeker in the U.K. for almost 6 years. He left Iran in 2002 after being tortured by the regime and experiencing threats to his life. Despite many documents proving that his asylum claim is valid, including proof of torture from the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of torture, he is still uncertain about his future and if he will have a safe place to live.
"In the past 13 years my life has been ruined by 3 different governments, 2 of them (Japan and the U.K.) so called 'modern' countries. In 1994 I competed in the Asian Games in Japan and because of my problems with the Islamic regime in Iran I claimed asylum there but my claim was rejected and I was forcibly removed in 1995. I was collected from Narita Airport in Tokyo and transported blindfolded and handcuffed by the Iranian Intelligence Service to Iran where I was detained for 3 years, kept in solitary confinement and tortured both mentally and physically. In 2002 after the Student Movement protests my family home was raided by the Intelligence Service and I decided to leave the country, fearing for my life. I was unable to take my family with me and I have now been separated from separated from my wife and son for 6 years and denied the right to lead a normal life by the British government, despite the overwhelming evidence that my claim is valid.
I recently demonstrated in Croyden, outside Lunar House against the Home Office stalling on my case. After 4 hours, in front of the busy offices during which people passing by asked me about the protest and my case, I was invited inside. I asked to see my case worker but another woman came and simply told me, without viewing my papers, ‘you have to leave this country’ after which I was ejected by security."