25 November 2009
UK Home Office grants reprieve for asylum family
A family that were due to be flown back to Malawi have been granted a last-minute reprieve, thanks in part to a Member of Scottish Parliament’s intervention and community support.
Florence Mhango and 10-year-daughter Precious, who have lived in the UK for six years, were taken to the Dungavel detention centre in South Lanarkshire after a routine UK Home Office meeting and faced deportation back to Malawi.
The family learned of their reprieve while onboard a Kenyan Airways flight at Heathrow on Monday night, and were taken to Yarls Wood pending fresh legal action.
Glasgow MSP Anne McLaughlin had written to the UK immigration minister, Phil Woolas, urging him to release the family on humanitarian grounds as Precious faced the possibility of genital mutilation on her return to Malawi.
A judicial review for the family’s case has been lodged by Paul Chen QC, a move that was commended by Ms McLaughlin.
Ms McLaughlin said: "I am delighted that the advocate Paul Chen QC was successful in his attempts to stop this flight and give Precious a chance to fight for the right to live in Scotland.
"There has been an outpouring of genuine concern for Florence and Precious from hundreds of ordinary people and the UK Border Agency has thankfully decided to allow them to stay while fresh arguments are brought before the court."
The community of Cranhill, where the family lived, has been campaigning for their release as well as holding a vigil for Florence and Precious.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their UK Visa applications.