African Olympic athlete seeks UK asylum


An Olympic athlete has walked into a police station and asked for asylum in the UK.

It is understood the male competitor turned up at the Bridewell Police Station, in the centre of Leeds, on Tuesday.

The man is believed to have entered Britain as a legitimate member of the Olympic squad of an East African country and is having his application processed in the normal way after police passed the case to the UK Border Agency (UKBA)

A number of countries have training camps in Yorkshire, the largest being the Chinese team in Leeds.

A Home Office spokesman said he could not comment on individual cases.

He said it was expected that all athletes taking part in the Games would leave when their accreditation expires and any applications for asylum would be dealt with according to standard immigration procedures.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said asylum applications were a matter for the UKBA.

Details of the case were revealed in today's Daily Mail.

Chief executive of the Refugee Council Donna Covey said: "It's a tragic fact that many people competing in the Olympics come from countries around the world where they are at risk of human rights abuses, conflict, and violence.

"Asylum is a human right, meaning that anyone can apply for asylum in a safe country if they are being persecuted in their own.

"The UK is a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention which means we will offer protection to people who are found to be in need of it.

"So, as we welcome the world to the UK for the Olympics, we must also uphold our proud tradition of offering safety to those fleeing persecution."