Skip to content or view screen version

RIP Mohammad Hussain

SYMAAG - South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group | 11.08.2008 17:13 | Anti-racism | Health | Migration

Mohammad Hussain dies of cancer following 8 years struggling to gain refugee status

Hello Everyone

Some sad news. Our friend Mohammad Hussain died, aged 36, last Sunday 3rd August.

You might recall that Mohammad was threatened with deportation to his native Iraqi Kurdistan in May this year. A campaign organised by the South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group, and a devoted solicitor, stopped his deportation at Heathrow airport at the last minute.

Escaping Persecution

Mohammad worked as a hospital manager in Irbil , northern Iraq until he came to the UK in 2000. He was escaping the persecution that he faced from both the Iraqi security forces and from the Kurdish Democratic Party, which he refused to join. He fought for refugee status until the very end of his life but never gained it, leading to constant insecurity and anxiety about his future.

Inadequate Medical Care

In April 2008 Mohammad was arrested and taken to Lindholme detention centre. Mohammad had been here before, when he played a leading role in organising the 40 mile “Dignity Not Detention” protest march from Sheffield to the metal security fence of Lindholme in October 2007. While Mohammad was in Lindholme he complained of severe pains in his stomach but received completely inadequate medical care. He was, for example, given a mild painkiller and then sold a headache tablet. He was sent to 3 other detention centres –each time without any explanation- until his eventual release on 22nd May. On his release from detention he went to Doncaster Royal Infirmary where he was diagnosed with a form of cancer which (by that stage) was incurable. In contrast to the “healthcare” available in detention centres, Mohammad received the best treatment the National Health Service could offer and was treated with respect by healthworkers.

A Fighter for Everyone

The last weeks of Mohammad’s life were spent in a hospice in Doncaster or being treated in hospital, but he was the Mohammad we loved until the end. Despite his situation, Mohammad was always aware of other people’s needs, arranging for meals to be made for visitors, understating the pain he was in, or even arranging solicitors for other people fighting their asylum case. He amazed hospital staff with his popularity – he was moved to a separate room in Doncaster because the huge number of visitors were disturbing other patients! Most of all Mohammad showed that he was a fighter, for his life, his rights and other people’s rights.

There was a very well attended funeral service for Mohammad in Doncaster on Tuesday 5th August and Northern Refugee Centre will be organising a tribute to Mohammad’s life soon. Mohammad has one brother in Doncaster and a sister in Holland . He also has brothers and sisters in northern Iraq/Kurdistan. If you want to contribute to a fund to help pay for the costs of returning his body to Iraqi Kurdistan and for his burial there, see the attachment “Appeal for Mohammad” from the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees.

Mohammad Hussain Mohammad 11th March 1962 – 3rd August 2008


الاتحاد العام للاجئين العراقيين

فيدراسيوني سةراسةري ثةنابةراني عيَراقي


Appeal for funds to send Mohammad Hussain’s body home to be buried

The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR) is sorry to inform you that one of our comrades Mohammad Hussain died of cancer on Sunday 3rd August. Many of you will know Mohammad Hussain from Doncaster. He was a big man with a big heart. Mohammad was originally from Erbil in Northern Iraq. Mohammad has been a political campaigner all of his life. He was forced to leave Erbil and seek refuge in the UK March 2000, following threats from the Kurdish Democratic Party because of his political campaigning.

Unfortunately Mohammed became one of the many Iraqi Kurds caught up in the UK Home Office asylum system. But until the very end of his life, Mohammed never gave up on the fight to gain refugee status.

He was arrested and he was moved from Lindholme detention centre to Campsfield detention centre in Oxfordshire, to Tinsley House and then to Haslar. The Home Office tried to deport him on 14th June 2008 to Iraq via Royal Jordanian Airlines but 44 minutes before he was due to be deported his solicitor and the campaign to defend him sucessfully stopped his deportation. While he was in the detention centre at Lindholme he was very stressed and suffered much pain. When he explained that he had a lump in his stomach which was getting bigger and harder he was given a mild painkiller, then sold a headache tablet by the detention centre ”doctor”. Mohammad died but did not get refugee status .

For the eight years Mohammad was in the UK he was a constant and fierce defender of refugee and human rights. Mohammad worked with many refugee charities and organisations. As well as being an active member of IFIR he was also treasurer of the Doncaster Focus Group (a co-ordinating group of refugee and migrant volunteers). He was an active member of the South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group and marched 40 miles in October 2008 from Sheffield to Lindholme to protest at conditions there. He was one of the best known and loved members of the Kurdish community in South Yorkshire. In the last weeks of his life, his bedside was crowded with friends and well-wishers.

Mohammad spent much of his life campaigning and helping other people. IFIR is now asking you to help him. Mohammad’s family want to take his body back to Iraq to be buried. Please help us to make this possible please donate online to or send cheques to IFIR made out to :

account number: 81397680
sort code: 40/04/07




IG1 3BZ,


6 August 2008



IFIR:PO.BOX1575,ILFORD, IG1 3BZ, LONDON UK Tel:0044 7856032991


SYMAAG - South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group
- e-mail: