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Abdul Alfeckhal Belongs to Middlesbrough

John O | 18.05.2008 10:51 | Migration | Repression | Workers' Movements

Abdul Majeed Alfeckhal served for fifteen years as a high-ranking officer in the Libyan navy. After this length of service he asked to be released from the navy, as he was suffering from depression and felt unable to continue serving in the armed forces of a repressive regime.

Permission to leave was denied and instead, Abdul was told that it was planned to move him into the secret police, one of the most repressive arms of the Libyan government, an appointment that would clearly have been unconscionable for a person who believes in democracy and free speech. Abdul had no alternative but to flee the country (other servicemen who have attempted to leave the service and remain in Libya have faced long periods of detention without fair trial, torture and even execution).

Abdul arrived in the UK in November 1999. He made no attempt to hide his presence in the country or to live illegally, immediately applying to the Immigration Service for asylum. His claim was not heard until May 2004. In the interim he had met and married his wife, Joan Alfeckhal (nee White) in June 2001, a marriage that has survived and thrived to this day. Eventually Abdul was granted asylum under Section 8 of the Human Rights Act (the right to a family). However, this decision was appealed by the Home Office and subsequently overturned.

The Home Office claims that Abdul would be in no danger if he were to be returned to Libya, in spite of the well-documented human rights abuses in that country (see below). In the face of this intransigence on the part of the Home Office, Abdul took his case to the European Court of Human Rights two and a half years ago. Its decision is still awaited.

Since arriving in the UK Abdul has strictly adhered to the laws of the country. He has no criminal record and has signed on at a police station every month in accordance with Home Office regulations (he has only missed three appointments out of well over eighty, each time for a legitimate reason and ensuring that alternative arrangements were made).

On Wednesday April 30th 2008 Abdul attended Stockton police station to sign on as usual. When he arrived there he was arrested and taken to Middlesbrough police station. His family was refused access to Abdul, as there were "no visiting facilities". The next day he was transferred to a detention facility in London: the Home Office refused to inform his family where he was being held, citing the Data Protection Act.

Whilst in detention Abdul was asked to sign a travel document which would have enabled the Home Office to have him returned to Libya. Abdul refused to cooperate and was then transferred to Colnbrook detention centre, where he is still being held.

Abdul's family have naturally been extremely concerned for his well-being and safety and applied to have him bailed from detention (a perfectly reasonable request for a man who has committed no crime and has fulfilled every condition the Home Office have imposed on him). On May 14th family members travelled three hundred miles to attend the bail hearing. They were refused permission to speak with Abdul and no family member, not even his wife of seven years, was permitted to speak on his behalf. After a five minute hearing bail was denied and Abdul remains imprisoned.

The Home Office has claimed that Abdul will not be in special danger if he is returned to Libya, as he will be treated as a "normal" deserter.

However, the U.S. State Department's country report on Libya for 2007, commenting on trial procedure, states:

"In practice defendants often were not informed of the charges against them and usually had little contact, if any, with their lawyers. Defense lawyers automatically were appointed, even if the defendant declined representation."

The same report also comments:

"Reported torture, arbitrary arrest, and incommunicado detention remained problems. The government restricted civil liberties and freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association." (

It is quite clear that if Abdul is returned to Libya there is no way that the Home Office can guarantee that he will receive a fair trial, nor can they guarantee his physical safety.

Abdul's extended English family is enormously distressed at having had their much-loved husband, and uncle taken from them, and the prospect of his being returned to Libya is horrifying. Obviously the situation has put enormous stress on Abdul himself: he has stated to his family that he will "die here in the UK rather than go back to Libya", so fearful is he of the consequences of his being returned.

It must be stressed again that Abdul has been in the UK for nine years, in which time he has committed no crime. He is a hardworking and highly intelligent individual who is completely bilingual and has ambitions to work as an interpreter for the police and legal services. He has been happily married to a UK citizen for seven years and is part of a very settled and happy family circle. Despite this, he remains indefinitely incarcerated and facing the prospect of being sent to a country where there is no chance of his receiving fair treatment and where he will face long term imprisonment, probably in solitary confinement, possible torture and maybe even worse.

What you can do to help:

Send urgent faxes immediately to Rt. Hon. Jacqui Smith, Secretary of State for the Home Office asking that Abdul Majeed Alfeckhal be granted protection in the UK. Attached is a model letter, AbdulAlfeckhalJS.doc which you can copy/amend/write your own version (if you do so, please remember to include the Home Office ref F1038662).

Fax: 020 8760 3132 If you are faxing from outside UK - Fax: 20 8760 3132

Please notify the Campaign of any faxes sent.

Paul White
Abdul Majeed Alfeckhal Campaign
Tel: 078 7026 4195

Source for this message:
Rendel Harris for Abdul Majeed Alfeckhal Campaign

John O
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Display the following 2 comments

  1. Absolutely — Geoff Spurr
  2. 1999 you are a defector but in 2004 you’re a liability. — Brian Howes