Murder suspect's deportation halted

Cahal Milmo
Friday 26 July 2002 00:00

A Turkish man suspected of murdering his British girlfriend in Istanbul has won his fight to remain in Britain despite attempts by the Home Office to deport him.

Asur Saribal, 32, claimed he was a political refugee who could not go back to his homeland – where police want to question him over the death of Anna Galliano – because he was a Kurd with links to separatist and terrorist groups.

A High Court judge yesterday quashed his deportation notice, saying there was not enough evidence to prove that Mr Saribal deliberately set out to defraud a tribunal which ruled he should be allowed to stay in the UK.

Immigration officials initially accepted Mr Saribal's claims that he would be tortured if he went back to Turkey, and granted him asylum.

But his assertions were later claimed to be lies in a BBC documentary, which prompted the Home Office to launch a new inquiry into Mr Saribal, who is now married and running a kebab shop in Essex.

Mr Saribal claimed his father had been an activist who had died in jail and that as a boy he had sprayed anti-government graffiti on walls.

The BBC2 programme alleged that Mr Saribal came from a village that was not inhabited by Kurds. His father, the programme claimed, was alive in Istanbul.

The Immigration Service then issued a Notice of Intention to Deport Mr Saribal.

Miss Galliano's family has long campaigned for Mr Saribal to stand trial in the UK for the murder of the 21-year-old student in 1995.

The couple started a relationship while she was on holiday in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, where Mr Saribal was a barman. But back home in Britain, Miss Galliano began a separate affair and she decided to return to Turkey to break off her engagement.

While she and Mr Saribal were out one evening, Miss Galliano collapsed in the street. A post mortem examination showed a tear in her liver consistent with her having being stamped on.

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