Asylum seeker granted reprieve

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A DISABLED asylum seeker living in Yorkshire, who was due to be deported to Africa, has been handed an 11th-hour reprieve after the Government agreed to review her case.

Lemlem Hussein Abdu, 62, of Sheffield, was due to be deported to Ethiopia earlier this week.

However, her flight was cancelled after Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield and others, including the Bishop of Sheffield Steven Croft, persuaded Damian Green, Immigration Minister, to step in over her case.

Supporters say that Mrs Abdu fled Eritrea – which was then part of Ethiopia – in 1978, after her village was burned down and her family killed during an attack by Ethiopian forces.

She escaped to Sudan and then to Saudi Arabia, where she found work.

However, Mrs Abdu’s employers abandoned her after she was injured during a visit to the UK, leaving her with no money or identification.

Her claim for asylum was rejected but she continued to live in Sheffield, where she integrated into the community and worked to improve her English.

Mrs Abdu, who has multiple health problems, has now arrived back in the city she calls home, after being set to be flown out to Ethiopia last Monday.

Gina Clayton, who has been co-ordinating Mrs Abdu’s case, said: “This is an exceptional and compelling case.

“We won’t relax until Lemlem has a residence permit, but following the Minister’s intervention we are very hopeful that Lemlem will soon have security and be able to live without fear.”

Sarah Eldridge, of the Sheffield City of Sanctuary group, said: “It’s hard to know exactly which part of the campaign led to the change of heart.

“But it has been immensely heart-warming to watch the spontaneous groundswell of support from hundreds of ordinary people that sprang up in the space of a few days and led to Lemlem’s emotional welcome back to the city.”