Nov 22, 2013 – Nigerian Refugee Claimant In Harmondsworth Immigration Detention centre About To Die: Isa Muazu On Hunger Strike
Isa Muaza, a Nigerian man who lost his bid for protection in the UK is close to death after spending the last 85 days on a hunger strike at the Harmondsworth immigration removal centre near Heathrow Airport protesting a deportation order served on him by British authorities.
Mr Muaza, 45, has refused food for close to three months in protest of a high court ruling which ordered him removed from the UK and sent back to Nigeria. He claims he is at risk from assassination by Boko Haram if he is forced to return, with his lawyers describing the court ruling as a death sentence.
Earlier this week, Mr Muaza sought to get released but a London high court rejected the appeal, insisting that he must remain in detention. His lawyers have called on the home secretary to save his life but so far, their pleas have been rejected with the home office issuing an end of life plan for him.
In October, Mr Muaza was deemed medically unfit to be detained despite that, ministers have refused to release him and with the recent court ruling against him, he will remain in custody. Ministers’ refusal to release him has been interpreted as evidence of a more hardline approach, following the June freeing of four asylum detainees who were on hunger strike in protest at their detention.
One source at Harmondsworth said staff have been warned to expect the hunger striker to die as Mr Muaza is refusing to eat at all. His solicitor Sue Willman from Deighton Pierce Glynn, is now planning to appeal directly to the home secretary Theresa May, to show clemency and save her client’s life.
Mr Muaza claims he left Nigeria because Boko Haram members threatened to kill him unless he joined them. He has now resolved to rather die than return to Nigeria, saying he faces certain death if he goes back.
“I was afraid but now I am a skeleton and almost dead. There is so little of me left and I am not afraid but the authorities have not treated me as a human being,” Mr Muaza said.
On Tuesday this week, denied a request from Mr Muaza to be released. Ms Willman said she was considering an appeal but added that her client was so weak, she fears any legal move would be too late to save him.
Of late, British immigration authorities have adopted a hardline stance on deportation matters as part of a clampdown on asylum seekers. It fits in with an aggressive government campaign to reduce the number of migrants from across the Commonwealth, which at one stage included introducing a £3,000 bond for visa seekers.
Although plans to introduce the £3,000 bond for visitors from Nigeria, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh, has been abandoned, the government is still adopting a tough anti-immigrant stance. Earlier this year, the government plastered posters across public utilities as well as on taxis and buses, urging non-legal migrants to leave the UK