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Stop the deportation of Mansoor Hassan and his family

NUJ | 11.11.2004 13:06 | Migration

The NUJ is gearing up a national campaign to prevent the threatened deportation of Pakistani journalist Mansoor Hassan Campaign, who would be in danger if he were compelled to return. Despite known threats to his life, his asylum claim to stay in the UK has been rejected.

There will be meetings, letter writing and lobbying of MPs and a petition. The text of a model letter to the Home Office is attached at the foot of this page.

The campaign kicked off with a public meeting next Tuesday, November 9, in Manchester, where the Mansoor family live.

An investigative journalist and NUJ member, Mansoor Hassan fled Pakistan two years ago. There as joint editor of an Urdu language magazine Crime, he exposed corruption and criminal activities amongst the business community and within the political establishment itself.

After implicating a senior politician in an honour killing Mansoor was shot at and his house was burned down. He exposed a company owned by the Minister of Agriculture that sold adulterated pesticides and substandard cottonseed to farmers, which led to his being beaten up and his family threatened by the secret services and the police. A known criminal shot at Mansoor after he wrote an article about him.

Mansoor’s family were poisoned in a restaurant. The UK asylum the adjudicator said in rejecting his case: “I accept that the Appellant and his family were the subject of severe barbiturate poisoning but I do not accept that this was deliberate”.

The family were forced to move from one city to another, but the people he had exposed were continually persecuting them. They could not rely on protection from the Pakistan police. Ultimately, he fled Pakistan for the safety of his four young children.

The US-based organisation Human Rights Watch says that the Pakistan government “has systematically violated the fundamental rights of members of the press corps through threats, harassment, and arbitrary arrests … The military government is becoming increasingly intolerant of press freedoms”. The US State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2003” says: “Journalists were targets of harassment and violence by individuals and groups”.

But the UK government, while accepting that Mansoor had been subjected threatened, attacked and shot at, described these experiences merely as “anxiety” and claimed that he would be “perfectly safe somewhere else in Pakistan” and that he was “not at any on-going risk”.

In Manchester Mansoor has worked as a volunteer with the British Red Cross and a refugee orientation programme. He is a parent governor at his children's’ school. His wife Aqila is a teacher, holds an MSc in Economics and has worked as a volunteer classroom assistant at the children’s school.

The head teacher said of the children: ”They have settled very well in school, collectively make the most of their learning opportunities, have made friends with other children and their behaviour is always excellent. The children are skilled communicators both verbally and in the written form… and have made positive contributions to the life of Varna Street School”.

The NUJ says that the Hassan Family must be allowed to remain in the country on compassionate grounds.

attached is the letter to the home office



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  1. Where's the letter? — Jenny