Letter: Who let Irek in so easily? Passports that lead to prison

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The Independent Online
I am pleased that Irek Mukhamedov, now principal dancer with the Royal Ballet, and his family are flourishing here (Passport, Travel and Money, 9 February). Perhaps the Home Secretary could explain, however, why they are not economic migrants? They (apparently) had no problems in their own country other than irritation with the bureaucracy, yet they were welcome to "defect" to the UK to fulfil their desire to give their children a "Western upbringing".

At the same time many other people seek asylum here. Some have clearly been tortured (confirmed by British doctors) and have a well-founded fear that they will be persecuted or killed in their home country. Despite this they are classed as suspected economic migrants, often incarcerated for years in conditions that can only remind them of the abuses they are fleeing, or else denied any means of financial support and generally treated like criminals. They are subject to highly-biased procedures that can present almost insurmountable obstacles to prevent them proving their case. Some have been forcibly repatriated and "disappeared".

Why are they not given EC passports as Mr Mukhamedov and family have been? It would be quicker and vastly more humane. It might also be cheaper: prisons are very expensive.

Joe Boswell

London N4

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