Home Office hound severely ill woman to prove toughness


8:40 am - July 15th 2013

by Guest    


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by Esme Madill

Roseline Akhalu is a kidney transplant patient who lives in Leeds.

Her doctors say she will die within four weeks if she is returned to Nigeria. The Home Office don’t dispute this fact. They accept it.

Yet still they relentlessly pursue Rose’s deportation as if medical evidence and judicial rulings count for nothing. As if hers is just one more scalp in the continuing propaganda war against ‘benefits tourism’ and ‘health tourism’.

Their claims she is a health tourist are disputed by her doctors. On Thursday Roseline Akhalu yet again faces her accusers in court.

The immigration authorities have subjected Rose to four years of jeopardy. She has been twice locked up — for 26 days in March 2012 in Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre and 16 days in May that year when she was detained in Yarl’s Wood and Colnbrook Detention Centre in Middlesex.

The local charismatic movement and the group Women Asylum Seekers Together, among others, have raised funds to hire a 49-seater coach. Friends and neighbours are preparing to travel down to London to pack the public gallery at Thursday’s hearing — at Field House, Immigration and Asylum Tribunal (Upper Tier) Hearing Centre.

“We are talking to as many people as possible who would be sympathetic to her cause through work, social events and casual contacts,” says Paul. “Our parish priest has encouraged the congregation to pray for her.”

She is a regular helper at the popular Monday Tea Club for the elderly at St. Augustine’s, her local Catholic church. She runs a weekly prayer group and sings in the choir. One woman approaching 100 years of age told Theresa May how much she would miss playing dominos with Rose.

“Rose is a well respected member of the parish community of St Augustine’s,” says her parish priest Fr Jonathan Hart. “She does a great deal of work in the parish and has the support of the parish members.”

Still, the Home Office pursues her, as if Rose’s painful, untimely and entirely preventable death is a price worth paying to demonstrate this government’s blind obsession with immigration control.

Readers may wish to sign an on line petition calling on Theresa May to let Rose live.

Update on 27th July: I’ve received a statement saying judges in the Upper Immigration and Asylum Tribunal rejected an appeal from Theresa May to deport Roseline Akhalu.

Tessa Gregory, a solicitor at Public Interest Lawyers, representing Ms Akhalu said:

We are delighted that the Upper Tribunal has dismissed the Home Secretary’s appeal and found in Rose’s favour. The facts of Rose’s case are exceptional and have been rightly recognized as such. It must now be time for the Home Secretary to accept that it would be unlawful to deport Rose to a certain and lonely death in Nigeria. No more money should be wasted on further appeals and Rose should be allowed to get on with her life within the community that has given her such incredible support throughout this ordeal.


This is an edited version of a piece on openDemocracy

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Reader comments


Signed.

2. margin4error

It is so much easier to hate people and hurt them when we know nothing about them as an individual and instead can dehumanize them as some sort of thieving scum, isn’t it?

3. Charlieman

My sincere best wishes to the family.

@2 very true.

Isn’t ignorance strength? So wilful ignorance is choosing to be strong. Then one day, someone else uses that rule in the trashing of your own life. On a later date the person who chose ignorance is strength finds themselves on the receiving end, as they are the next target in the latest purge.

Rescind your own humanity, deny others (always weaker than you) theirs…

@1 so did I :)

A women in Wales was sent home knowing she would die, they said they had pointed out to her local charities which would help her pay the £10,000 a week cancer care, of course that was rubbish and she died, the Welsh Assembly said nothing to do with us.

Life is very cheap at the moment in the UK.

It would be interesting to see the reaction this got on the DM, or some other mainstream right-leaning website. I’ve seen fanatical right-wingers make the “yeah, and why should we care, lots of people die in Africa” argument, but I’d like to imagine m4e’s point would apply to the population at large.

Robert: assuming you mean “deported” when you say “sent home”, the implied blaming of the WAG for inaction is rather unfair. It *is* nothing to do with them. Border control, visa control and administration throughout the UK is solely the responsibility of the UK Government, and none of the devolved administrations have any ability or right whatsoever to do anything about it (that’s true in every federal country I can think of, as well).

8. margin4error

That’s a good point John.

I suspect those parts of the press and public are fairly comfortable just ignoring the humanisation of their villains – or dismissing these cases as rare exceptions to the more generic and faceless targets of their hate and spite.

But it makes one wonder. How many of those who protest in support of this one health tourist, might previously have felt a degree of anger and bitterness towards health tourists in general?

6.
Are you referring to a cancer treatment drug that is not a cure?
I remember reading something about a very expensive drug that might extend the life of a terminally ill person by a month or two but, on the other hand, it might make no difference.

10. margin4error

Celiog

I don’t think Robert mentioned a drug. I suspect though it was the case of the woman who was on dialysis until she was deported, and died when she got back to Ghana. Patients tend to have a cocktail of different drugs rather than a single drug.

11. Planeshift

@6 – can you link to the story please. I recieve every press release the WG release as part of my job, and can’t recall that case at all (and would have flagged it up here as well).

10.
I doubt if that is the same case. I may be wrong but I think that Robert is commenting about a woman with terminal skin cancer (melanoma).
The average cost of dialysis is £30,800 per patient per year and it is available on the NHS.
£10,000 per week is more likely to be a costly drug.

Esme Madill writes:

Yet still they relentlessly pursue Rose’s deportation as if medical evidence and judicial rulings count for nothing.

Are you stating that the Home Office is acting in an extra-judicial manner and ignoring the decisions of the court? You don’t actually say or provide any evidence to justify this claim. In the past Home Secretaries have been told by the courts that they are breaking the law and have been told not to.

But this is not about Home Office cruelty it is about the Home Secretary – an elected politician who makes the decisions.

Every day the NHS is having increasingly to ration what it does. You can find some details here.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21519896

In the same way individual citizens are having to make choices about their own health care and treatment.

I suggest that every doctor in the country could identify patients whose lives might be enhanced and extended through the application of unlimited resources. But those doctors don’t have unlimited resources at their disposal and have to make decisions about who lives and who dies.

The cost of treatment for Roseline Akhalu must come from somewhere and that somewhere will be from the rationing of treatment for someone else.

It seems to me that those who are currently petitioning and campaigning should at very least provide an answer to those who ask, from where are the resources to come and whose treatment will be rationed out of existence?

14. margin4error

ceiliog

I suspect this was the case… http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7305963.stm

15. Robin Levett

@Bitethehand #13:

The cost of treatment for Roseline Akhalu must come from somewhere and that somewhere will be from the rationing of treatment for someone else.

It seems to me that those who are currently petitioning and campaigning should at very least provide an answer to those who ask, from where are the resources to come and whose treatment will be rationed out of existence?

Why? That logic, even if it is valid, applies to every single treatment provided by the NHS to absolutely anybody. Why single out Roseline Akhalu?

16. Charlieman

@14. margin4error: “I suspect this was the case… http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7305963.stm

It appears that some people think that we are incapable of making humanitarian decisions.


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