LETTER : Masari left in a legal limbo

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Home Office's decision (report, 18 April) to grant Mohamed al-Masari, the Saudi dissident, Exceptional Leave to Remain will satisfy no one. ELR is a lesser form of protection than full Refugee Convention status, leaving Mr Masari in limbo, living in Britain at the Govermnent's whim. It is obvious that Mr Masari is reasonably likely to face persecution if returned to Saudi Arabia, and therefore he deserves full refugee status. The Saudis, in turn, are unlikely to be soothed by fine bureaucratic distinctions between one status and other; for them it all looks like harbouring the enemy. So the Government takes no principled stand, either for human rights or for trade and diplomacy.

Dr Andrew Shacknove