Majid Ali: Glasgow student 'forcibly' deported to Pakistan 'feared dead'

Worst case scenario is Mr Ali 'has been taken away, tortured and killed', says activist

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The Independent Online

The student who was forced onto a military plane and deported to Pakistan more than a week ago ‘has not been heard from since and his phone hasn’t been ringing out’, say his friends, leading to fears he may have been killed upon arrival.

City of Glasgow College student, Majid Ali, had applied for asylum in the UK in 2011 after consistently accusing Pakistani authorities of raiding his family home in Balochistan – and shooting dead his uncle and cousin – because of their political beliefs.

He also claimed his brother was the victim of an ‘enforced disappearance’ after being abducted by government forces.

Despite repeated attempts, none of Mr Ali’s friends in Glasgow have been able to make contact with him and the use of a ‘non-commercial flight’ late on June 9 has been sending ‘alarm bells ringing’ throughout the student community.

Student activist, Gary Spedding, who has been working round-the-clock on Mr Ali’s case, told the Sunday Herald the student was “forced onto a non-civilian flight – which didn't appear on any departure list.”

He insisted Mr Ali is not a criminal and added: “He doesn't have any convictions and he is not a security risk. There was no need to use this kind of flight.

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Majid Ali in Glasgow's George Square

“We think Majid has been detained by security forces upon arrival in Pakistan as he had agreed to email his lecturer to let us know he was safe – but he has failed to do so.

“The best case scenario is he’s been detained in prison and is being questioned. The worst case scenario is he has been taken away, tortured and killed.”

Mr Spedding described how the student community is “extremely worried” and “devastated” not to have heard from Mr Ali and said: “If he has been killed, we will take legal action against the Home Office. They made the decision to send him back to Pakistan.

“We’re not giving up. We want to use this case to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

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Students protest the deportation in Edinburgh last week

NUS Scotland president-elect, Vonnie Sandlan, said Mr Ali’s detention had happened “very suddenly” after he went to the local Home Office to sign some papers and had been detained on May 29 in Glasgow’s Dunvagel Detention Centre after a number of appeals against his deportation order failed.

Ms Sandlan described how quickly the situation gathered pace and said: “He never had a chance to pick up his belongings. He had his phone taken away and, after four years of building a life here, he never even got a chance to say goodbye to his friends and loved ones.”

Last week, in a last-ditch attempt, around 40 students staged a demonstration at the Scotland Office in Edinburgh and the hashtag #DontDeportMajid began trending on Twitter the following day.

When contacted, a Home Office spokesman said: “We do not comment on individual cases.”

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