A TEENAGE asylum seeker who has lived in Leeds for two years fears he would be murdered or jailed for life if he is forced to return to Iran.
Leeds City College acting student Hossein Ahmadi is afraid after the Home Office ruled it is safe for him to return to his home country.
Students and campaigners staged a protest walk through Leeds yesterday as the #Hosseinmuststay campaign gathers pace in a bid persuade the government to allow him to remain in the UK.
More than 7,600 people have signed an online petition in support of Hossein ahead of his appeal hearing in Bradford on Tuesday December 4.
Hossein said his father – an activist for a Kurdish political party – was murdered by the Iranian government when Hossein was a child.
Hossein fled Iran aged 14 after his older brother was taken prisoner during a government raid on the family’s home in late 2015.
He has not seen or heard from his mother or brother in three years.
After fleeing Iran, Hossein lived in harsh conditions at a refugee camp in Dunkirk for almost 11 months.
He suffered beatings at the hands of people smugglers.
Hossein travelled to England inside a refrigerated lorry and survived temperatures of -20 degrees.
Hossein said: “My father was murdered by the government for his political beliefs when I was a young child.
“My brother was arrested by armed men who broke into our home and I’ve not heard from him since. I don’t even know if my mum is still alive.
“I miss her and want to find her but I can’t go home because the government will either execute me or put me in prison for ever.”
He is excelling at Leeds City College, where he was awarded the prestigious Student of the Year accolade in his first year.
Hossein said: “I have had great support from everyone here in Leeds, especially my teachers.”
“The reason why I want to be an actor now is because I want to find my mum.
"If I get famous and my mum sees me she might get in contact with me.”
Laura Kayes, Hossein's teacher at Leeds City College, launched the online petition aimed at persuading the Home Office to allow him to stay in the UK.
She said: “Hossein is a valued member of the college student body and the city of Leeds.
“He participates fully, gratefully and dynamically in every opportunity offered both within college and the local community and he conducts himself with eternal optimism and warmth for
those around him.
“It is imperative he is allowed to stay where he is valued, and most importantly, safe.”
Support in Leeds for Hossein has been “absolutely overwhelming” according to the woman who has fostered him for almost two years.
Sally Kincaid offered Hossein a foster home after hearing of his plight while she was a volunteer for the charity Care4Calais.
She met Hossein after he arrived in Leeds and offered to give him a home in the city.
Hossein lives with Ms Kincaid, 55, and her husband Steve Johnston, 65, at their home in Beeston.
Ms Kincaid, the National Education Union’s joint branch secretary for Wakefield, said: “The support for him has been absolutely overwhelming.
“His teachers and fellow students and people from the wider community are supporting him.
“He is a lovely lad. He is forever smiling, even when things are difficult.”
Ms Kincaid added: “He is a very caring individual who always puts others before himself.”
Ms Kincaid said she thinks the Home Office’s conclusion that it is safe for Hossein to return to Iran two years after he fled is “nonsense.”
Ms Kincaid said: “If he goes back there he will face prison or death.”
The online petition, which has been launched in support of the #Hosseinmuststay campaign, can be found at www.tinyurl.com/y7rde6ow
A Home Office spokesperson, said: “Individuals with ongoing asylum claims are not subject to removal action.”