Final appeal after 19 months in jail

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The Independent Online
Cherif Gaoua has been locked up for 19 months. He has not committed a criminal offence. He has not even been charged.

Since August 1992, he has been waiting to hear whether the Home Office will allow him to stay in Britain with his new wife. While fighting deportation, the 32-year-old Algerian has be incarcerated in three prisons and one detention centre.

This week he made a final appeal on humanitarian grounds to be allowed to stay. He has been on hunger strike for almost two weeks and fears for his life if he is forced to return to Algeria, because of his support for the main opposition party there. But his deportation papers have been signed.

He arrived in the UK 10 years ago with a tourist visa. He decided to stay and worked as a chef. Four years ago he met Veronica, 47, a teacher from near Southampton. In August 1992 he gave himself up to the immigration service at Bournemouth airport thinking he would serve a short sentence before being released. Instead he was immediately detained.

On Wednesday he and Veronica were married in High Down prison at Sutton, Surrey. She said: 'We got married because this is the man I love, and if necessary I will follow him to Algeria despite the dangers.'

(Photograph omitted)

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