Journalist asylum-seeker released from detention

Sheffield man wins latest round in prolonged litigation. Marishka Van Steenbergen is keeping watch on the case for the Northerner

Sheffield asylum-seeker Bernard Mboueyeu returned home to his wife on Friday after spending five weeks in detention pending deportation to Cameroon, as reported in the Guardian Northerner.

Mboueyeu, who fears persecution and jail if he is deported to Cameroon, was detained by the UK Border Agency on 10 July with a deportation flight booked for the 16 July. However, Mboueyeu’s deportation was cancelled after he attempted suicide by drinking cleaning fluid the night before his flight.

Mboueyeu fled his homeland of Cameroon in 2007 after he was allegedly beaten up and tortured by the ruling regime for supporting opposition groups. The treatment followed his arrest by President Paul Biya’s security forces for taking photographs of students being attacked during protests in 2006.
Supporters say that the journalist, who was working for a newspaper in southern Cameroon at the time, was stripped naked, beaten up and kept in jail for forty days.

After living in Sheffield for three years, Mboueyeu met and married charity worker Sharon in 2010. Shortly after the marriage the Home Office insisted that Mboueyeu return to Cameroon to apply for a spouse’s visa.

Mboueyeu offered to return voluntarily to Cameroon if the Home Office could guarantee his safety, but supporters say that the Home Office was unable to make that guarantee. His supporters say that if he is returned, he could be arrested, face torture, or be locked up indefinitely.

Before Mboueyeu was detained by the UK Border Agency, his solicitors were preparing a case for a judicial hearing on 9 August, which was allowed to go ahead following the cancellation of the deportation flight on 16 July.
Mboueyeu’s wife Sharon, who lives in Wincobank, Sheffield, says:

At the hearing the Home Office barrister said that Bernard was a ‘daytime grandfather’ because we don’t live with my daughter. He also said that we made the authorities in Cameroon aware of Bernard because we went to the media for support.

Bernard won because we had a social worker report on the role Bernard plays in the lives of our grandchildren and because Amnesty International took on Bernard’s case.

I could not believe how the Home Office tried to make him look bad and now he has to report twice a week – I think because they are annoyed that we won.

Mboueyue, who has been released without bail, said that Amnesty International wrote a letter in support of his case detailing Cameroon’s record of gross human rights violations and how political opposition is not tolerated and is often suppressed through violence. Mboueyue said that Amnesty International’s letter expressed concern about the fact that he is known in Cameroon and would be detained and persecuted if he returned to his home country.

Pending judicial review, he hopes to gain leave to remain in the UK. He thanked those who supported him and said:

It is great to be home with my wife and family, I am so pleased to be home. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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