A teenager living in Leeds after fleeing Iran when he was 14 has been granted leave to stay in the UK after winning an immigration appeal.
Hossein Ahmadi, 17, feared he would be arrested, tortured or even executed if he were to return, despite a previous Home Office ruling that it was safe for him to go back to his home country.
Appealing against the Home Office verdict at Bradford’s Tribunal Hearing Centre yesterday, Hossein was flanked by his foster parents, college tutors and around 100 students from his Performing Arts course at Leeds City College, where he has been a student since September last year.
After being told he has leave to remain for five years, Hossein, who now lives in Beeston, said: “I feel really emotional. I could not believe it, it is like a dream. I did not think the answer would be today. It usually takes a few weeks.”
The tribunal heard he fled Iran, at the request of his mother, after his older brother was taken prisoner during a government raid on the family’s home in late 2015 because of his connections with the Kurdish Democratic Party, which is banned in Iran. His father had been executed when Hossein was a baby due to his involvement with the same group.
Hossein was taken by ‘an agent’ to the refugee camp at Dunkirk in France and smuggled into the UK in a lorry until he got out in Leeds. He has not seen or heard from his mother or brother in three years and his case argued he would be punished for their political beliefs.
A Home Office representative told the court Hossein was “someone who has fabricated for asylum in the UK” due to discrepancies in evidence and statements about exact dates relating to when he fled the family home and different dates of birth given to authorities.
However, Judge JR Neville ruled he was telling the truth, taking the unusual step of making a decision in the same day.