We the undersigned call on the Home Secretary to immediately release 19 year old torture survivor, Isa Al-Aali, from detention and to grant him indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
Background of the Case:
Isa Haidar Al-Aali, 19 years old, has been detained by UK immigration authorities for over three months. Isa’s application for asylum has been refused twice and removal directions were issued for his deportation on 22 May 2014 despite his having been sentenced in absentia to 5 years imprisonment by a Bahraini court. Based on recent expert evidence from global and local NGOs, Isa has not, and will not, receive a fair trial in Bahrain and will almost certainly be exposed to physical and psychological harm by Bahraini authorities.
Isa Haidar Al-Aali is a victim of targeted state violence in Bahrain and was arrested three times for exercising his basic human right to peaceful protest and political expression since 2011. He was eventually sentenced to 5 years imprisonment in an unfair trial by international standards.
He was first detained in Bahrain on 15 February 2013 during a peaceful protest. He was then subjected to physical abuse. This included handcuffing from behind and being pushed into a moving security vehicle. During detention, Isa was punched, kicked and beaten with batons and police helmets. Police officers also threatened to cut-off Isa’s genitals and kill him.
Isa fled to the UK seeking asylum after his third arrest. Isa was placed on Fast Track Detention (FTD) on his arrival at Heathrow Airport on 14 February 2014.
Isa’s application for asylum was refused on 11 March 2014 after almost one month in detention at Harmondsworth Detention Centre. His asylum claim was considered by the Home Office without waiting for translations of the documents that he had provided in Arabic to support his claim. As a result, his appeal against the refusal was quashed by the First Tier Tribunal on 24 March 2014 with the Home Office challenging the authenticity of the documents which, at the time, were not translated into English.
Between 14 February and 6 March 2014, Isa was not provided with a lawyer nor was he given an explanation of immigration proceedings in the UK. He therefore had no chance to prepare his defence and was not told of the need to translate his documents into English. Isa only had access to a lawyer the day before his asylum interview on 7 March 2014. Isa later appealed the decision of the Home Office to reject his asylum application but his appeal was rejected at first instance.
Permission was granted to appeal to the Upper Tribunal and Isa lodged his appeal on 14 March 2014, his evidence included the fact that he had been sentenced, in his absence, to five years imprisonment in Bahrain.
The judge recognised the significance of the fresh evidence provided, claiming:
“Given that the appellant is in custody I would hope that any application to the Respondent for further consideration would be made without delay and considered without delay: If there were to be re-hearing on such issues it seems to me that the nature of the evidence and the complexity of the case as evolving would now render it perhaps not suitable for Fast Track Procedures.”
When considering the new evidential dossier that was submitted and translated, the judge found that these could provide the grounds for a fresh claim which would not be suitable for the Fast Track Procedures.
Isa’s fresh claim was rejected despite the comments made by the Upper Tier Tribunal judge. When Isa asked authorities to be deported to any country that would allow him entry, other than Bahrain, this request was also rejected.
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We are calling on the Home Secretary to provide asylum to a young man who has bravely stood up for democracy and has, as a consequence, faced torture. Isa should be released immediately and provided with the care and support a torture survivor and champion of democracy would be offered in any civilised society.
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